The Lord is My Shepherd, one of 26 farmer organizations participating in Ghana's Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative, was the only farmer organization from Ghana to win an award at the Africa Farmer Organization of the Year Awards (AFOYA), held in Accra in November 2013.
The organization came second in the Market Access category. P4P aims to support and empower smallholders like those of Lord is My Shepherd through activities that allow them to improve production, access markets and boost their income.
Comprising 68 smallholder farmers, The Lord is My Shepherd was selected to participate in WFP's P4P initiative in 2010.
Members mainly grow maize and cowpeas on five acres or less in the Ashanti region of Ghana. Their small farm sizes and location in a maize-producing region made the organization an ideal candidate for P4P.
Growth through P4P
Through P4P, farmers were trained to improve food production, reduce post-harvest losses, and access new markets. With WFP as a guaranteed buyer, they now feel confident enough to invest more in their businesses.
To date, the group has sold 215 metric tonnes of maize worth US$85,000 to WFP. During their most recent sale in August, members applied the marketing principles they learned in training, pricing their maize to win a third of the order. Out of 12 groups, their order of 108 metric tonnes was the largest won by a single farmer organization.
"WFP has been our single largest buyer since our group was formed," said Adae Boamah, Lord is My Shepherd chairman, at the awards ceremony. "It would have been impossible to win this award without WFP's food purchases."
The group's prize was a plaque and US$6,000. They plan to combine the cash prize with their own earnings to build a new warehouse, which will eliminate some of the challenges they face when aggregating their produce for joint orders.
The AFOYA awards were launched by AGRA and the African Investment Climate Research to recognize and reward smallholder farmers throughout Africa for their role in promoting food security across the continent. AGRA is one of WFP's partners under its P4P initiative.