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UN buys from Ethiopia’s farmer co-operatives to feed local, starving people

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Global News Anthony Murray in Co-operative News reports on a new pilot project to promote small farmers’ access to local markets. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) buys food from local co-operatives and distributes it to vulerable populations in Ethiopia.  This year’s harvest will feed 1.8 million Ethiopians for a month:

Farmer co-operatives around Ethiopia are set to deliver one of the largest amounts of maize to a food development programme that will redistribute the food to country’s most vulnerable.

As part of a pilot project to promote small farmers’ access to local markets, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) buys food from local co-operatives and this harvest will feed 1.8 million Ethiopians for a month.

Abdou Dieng, WFP Country Director, said 28,000 metric tonnes of maize will form part of the UN’s relief distributions. He said: “Our goal here is to support Ethiopia feeding itself. Buying food for our Ethiopia operation right here in Ethiopia makes sense in cost-effectiveness, and in providing a boost for the local economy by helping small farmers to get closer to markets.”

WFP signed contracts with 16 co-operative unions last year, before the planting season began. The first deliveries on those contracts started to arrive at WFP warehouses last week.

To support the co-operatives in fulfilling their contracts, WFP provides technical assistance in storage and post-harvest handling and logistical support.

Through agreements with local banks, several agricultural co-operatives were able to use their WFP contracts as collateral for loans to buy new equipment and aggregate more maize from their members.

The project is part of WFP’s Purchase for Progress initiative (P4P), financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented in collaboration with the Government of Ethiopia through the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA).

In Ethiopia, WFP buys food grown locally in two ways: It buys from small-scale farmers and farmer co-operatives through P4P, and also buys large quantities of locally grown commodities through its regular procurement tender process.

In 2012, WFP purchased more than 112,000 metric tons of food in Ethiopia, more than any other country on the continent.

About 90 percent of this food has been used directly for WFP operations within Ethiopia.

Author: Daniela

I will forever be grateful that I was introduced to the utility and beauty of hand crafted products early in life - from the symbolic motifs sewn into the coarse linen fabric of Croatian traditional wear to the colorful Kilim carpets that decorated the parquet floors in my grandmother's living room. I treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," the smell of the flower stalls in the open air market where my grandmother bought produce early every morning for the day’s meals and the summers spent at my great grandmother's where the village wags would come to gossip over thick, black Turkish coffee in her cool stone kitchen. Someone noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world - one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

One thought on “UN buys from Ethiopia’s farmer co-operatives to feed local, starving people

  1. Pingback: WFP and Echo Expand Cash Pilot Programme in Ethiopia | Allana Potash Blog

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