26 February 2013

Ethiopian Farming Co-Ops Begin Record Food Delivery for National Relief Efforts

Photo: Kate Holt/IRIN
Relief food at a WFP warehouse in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Local farmers' cooperatives in Ethiopia are beginning to deliver what is expected to be the largest amount of maize they ever sold to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), as part of a pilot project to promote small farmers' access to local markets.

"Our goal here is to support Ethiopia feeding itself," WFP Country Director Abdou Dieng said in a press release issued today.

The 28,000 metric tons of maize is enough to feed 1.8 million people for a month through relief distributions in the country.

"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 cooperative unions last year, before the planting season began. The first deliveries on those contracts began arriving at WFP warehouses last week.

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

Through agreements with local banks, several agricultural cooperatives 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).

The Ethiopian Government was praised last year for its innovative and effective efforts to build resilience and food self-sufficiency amid increasingly challenging climatic conditions.

The Horn of Africa experienced a food crisis last year that left an estimated 13 million people dependent on humanitarian assistance.

Halving the proportion of hungry people in the world by 2015 was among the objectives within the eight globally agreed anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2013 UN News Service. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.

InFocus

Aid Agencies Should 'Go Local'

Relief food at a WFP warehouse in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Aid agencies could reduce the billions they spend each year on buying goods from other countries and make a greater impact if they buy goods locally, African manufacturers say. Read more »