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Experts make recommendations on how to support smallholder farmers

One of the problems that plagues agricultural production and marketing system in developing countries is the absence of standards and grades. This is one of the issues being addressed by P4P in Uganda where seven members of the P4P Technical Review Panel, WFP staff and partners met to discuss the progress of the programme. Strengthening farmers’ organizations, warehouse receipt systems and buying through commodity exchanges as ways to support smallholder farmers’ access profitable markets where some of the topics discussed. The Technical Review Panel, composed of ten experts in markets, trade and agriculture, provides high level independent advice to WFP and the P4P pilot countries on the programme. At a meeting in Jinja, Uganda, on 16 and 17 June, the Panel recommended a greater focus on post-harvest handling, tracing links between farmers’ organization and commodity exchanges to ensure these market platforms benefit smallholder farmers, and using an increase in farmers’ income as the main indicator of impact. These were part of a series of recommendations proposed by the panel after being asked to advise on four main themes: the assumptions underlying P4P country implementation strategies; implications of baseline data collection for impact assessment; approaches to dealing with changing sampling frames over time; P4P’s proposed definitions of beneficiary counting; and, how to determine the point at which an organisation has the capacity to profitably engage in markets without continued external assistance from WFP and it’s partners.
The discussions were informed by a visit to farmers’ organizations involved in P4P and a certified warehouse part of the warehouse receipts system.  These visits provided an indication of the successes and challenges faced by P4P.