Mali: How WFP Uses Locally-Produced Food
In the Dogon region, located 200 kilometers east of Mopti in central Mali, opportunities to earn income are very rare. In this remote region, WFP is implementing its Purchase for Progress (P4P) programme, which guarantees revenues to local farmers by buying their locally produced food. This food is used for WFP programmes in Mali such as general food distribution and school feeding programmes.
Farmers’ organizations, such as the one here in Bankass in the Dogon region, receive training from WFP to learn how to organize themselves into cooperatives, which is also a good way of sharing skills. Like many farmers’ organization in the P4P programme, this organization has only female farmers, although husbands sometimes attend the meetings!
The rainy season started in July so women are now plowing their crops and planting cereals such as millet, sorghum and niebe (local beans). In Mali, the harvest season usually starts late October. Some of these cereals will be purchased by WFP and the rest will be sold on local markets.
Niebe is a locallyproduced, highly nutritive pulse that fetches a very good price in local markets. For small-scale farmers, cultivating niebe is an excellent way of increasing revenue. Niebe is an important grain in WFP’s campaign against malnutrition in Mali.
Millet is grown as well. The 2012-2013 harvest was very good, and thanks to technical training from WFP and its partners, farmers’ organizations in Bankass were able to supply WFP with premium quality millet.
After the harvest, the grain that is not sold to WFP is stored in cereal banks that are elevated to protect the harvest from insects and rodents. By increasing their production and having banks for storage, small-scale farmers can reserve some cereal for sale during the months prior to the next harvest and for their own consumption throughout the year.
After the harvest, Aminata Diarra, 25, is processing millet into flour. The flour will be sold on the local markets. Since there are no factories in the area, millet is ground in the traditional manner.
Thanks to the benefits generated from the P4P programme, most of the villagers have been able to improve their living conditions. Aldiouma, Aminata’s husband, has been able to buy a cow that can be used for plowing, milk and eventually, food.
Because she has been able to increase her revenue, Aminata’s family has purchased goats. Some of them will be killed during Eid, the traditional feast day marking the end of Ramadan.
Once WFP has purchased grain from the local farmers, it is stored in warehouses before being dispatched for distribution. Mopti is the logistics base for WFP in northern Mali. Niebe is stored in triple bags for better protection.
Purchase for Progress is WFP's initiative to purchase local cereals and grain. P4P provides a guaranteed revenue for farmers, and also helps them organizing set up cooperatives and develop their skills.