WFP boosts food security
by connecting smallholder farmers to global markets
United Nations World Food Program (WFP)
Half of the 795 million hungry people in the world are family farmers. In a context of demographic pressure, it is therefore crucial to increase food production and to provide farmers in developing countries with acceptable incomes. How then can we initiate an inclusion strategy to global agricultural markets for the LDCs smallholder farmers, who are key players in the value chain of global food security?
To meet this challenge, the World Food Program has announced an agreement based on a public/private consortium during the Davos World Economic Forum. As outlined in the press release we are publishing below1, the agreement implements the Patient Procurement Platform (PPP) that will make it possible for farmers « to plant, harvest and sell enough high-quality crops to boost their incomes and increase food security. » The objective is thus to shift from subsistence farming to market-oriented agricultural production.
Yet while this public/private consortium has a role to play in reaching the global goal of « Zero Hunger » by 2030, they might fail if is not rehabilitated the idea that these farmers also need to protect themselves from the hyper-volatility of international agricultural markets, and as such they will continue to be victims of the inability of the international community to build a new global governance for agriculture.
momagri Editorial Board
Together with a consortium of leading public and private sector organizations, the Patient Procurement Platform (PPP) will make it possible for farmers to plant, harvest and sell enough high-quality crops to boost their income and increase food security. The platform will offer farmers access not only to quality seeds and other inputs but also insurance and financing as well as a predictable market.
Consortium members who signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Davos today include: AGRA, Bayer, GrowAfrica, the International Finance Corporation, Rabobank, Syngenta, WFP, and Yara International. The consortium will also include local members across the agricultural value chain, including commodity buyers, in each of the 25 countries where it will be active.
“Half of the 795 million hungry people in the world today are family farmers,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin in Davos. “The platform will enable some of the most marginalized farmers to access reliable markets for the first time. This will have a profound impact on food security and bring us closer to our Global Goal of zero hunger.”
With the support of the consortium, more than 1 million of the world’s poorest farmers in 25 countries will be able to shift from subsistence farming to market-oriented agriculture by facilitating their access to fair harvest contracts before planting begins, obtaining agricultural inputs to increase yields, and receiving other forms of support including trainings from consortium members or other providers.
The platform was introduced late last year and is now operating in three African markets. In Rwanda, 20,000 farmers have obtained contracts to sell a combined 8,000 metric tons (MT) of maize to a local buyer. In Tanzania, six local and regional buyers have joined WFP to contract 38,000 metric tons of maize and 5,000 metric tons of pigeon peas from 30,000 farmers who now have access to loans from local consortium member banks to expand production. In Zambia, three regional buyers have joined WFP to contract 17,000 metric tons of five different commodity crops from family farmers.
“Because of the platform, thousands of farmers in these three countries are already in a better position this planting season than the last one. They can now expand production to earn a more stable income knowing they have a trusted buyer committed to their long-term success,” added Cousin.
The platform builds on WFP’s previous work through Purchase for Progress (P4P) that supports small-scale farmers to include the private sector, which provides extra demand, financing and inputs needed to bring efforts to scale and make the largest impact. Committed and patient buyers are key to the platform’s success, because longer-term contracts secured before planting lowers risk and enables farmers to access necessary resources to expand production.
Increasing food production and income opportunities is vital to building resilience and food security, and the private sector has a major role to play in reaching the Global Goal of zero hunger by 2030. Over the next three years, the platform aims to engage 1.5 million farmers across 25 countries with US$750 million worth of contracts through a wide array of local, regional and international buyers.
1 The complete text of the press release is available from: