ADDIS ABABA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) honours World Food Day (16 October) by reaffirming its dedication to work with communities, civil society, governments and the private sector to end hunger in our lifetimes. Over the last year, communities on almost every continent have felt the devastating impacts of high food prices, natural disasters, climate emergencies and conflict, which have exacerbated hunger and poverty. Fortunately, working with partners across the globe WFP’s food assistance has brought hope and relief to millions.
“WFP faces many challenges as we work to ensure that the hungry poor receive the right food at the right time,” said WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin. “From the Sahel region stricken by the third drought in recent years, to unrest in the Middle East, to communities whose imported staple foods have become inaccessibly expensive, WFP delivers life-saving food assistance where it is needed most.”
In 2011, WFP reached almost 100 million people in 75 countries, including over 11 million children who received special nutritional support and 23 million children who received school meals or take-home rations.
The theme of this year’s World Food Day is “Agricultural cooperatives - key to feeding the world.” WFP works with agricultural cooperatives and farmers’ organizations in many countries around the world, providing training to help improve crop quality, strengthen business practices and increase access to markets. In particular, WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) pilot project has worked with more than 800 farmers’ organizations, comprised of more than one million smallholder farmers, in 20 countries to build capacity and maximize the developmental impact of food procurement.
“In Ethiopia, WFP has injected over US$6 million in the pockets of over 33,000 smallholder farmers though P4P purchases since the launch of the programme in 2010, in addition to WFP’s regular food purchases,” said Abdou Dieng, WFP Country Director in Ethiopia. “We have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to form a Maize Alliance with key partners, where WFP has signed forward delivery contracts with 16 cooperative unions in Ethiopia for a total of 30,000 metric tons for the 2012/2013 season."
Through this memorandum, together with partners, WFP has trained some 1,700 farmers providing technical assistance to farmers associations for storage and post-harvest handling, logistical support to unions, and increase the warehouse capacities of cooperative unions by 10,000 metric tons. P4P is also building cooperative unions’ capacity to take part in the National Commodity Exchange.
One of the lessons P4P has generated to date is that cooperatives can supply high-quality food provided there is an investment in their capacity and they have an assured market. WFP celebrates World Food Day along with its sister UN food agencies, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The three Rome-based agencies often work closely together to invest in and boost the production of smallholder farmers and increase people’s access to nutritious food.
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For more information on the WFP’s work in Ethiopia, visit our dedicated country page: http://www.wfp.org/Ethiopia
Follow us on Twitter @wfp_ethiopia
For more information please contact Stephanie Savariaud in Addis Ababa
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