BANGUI – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is expanding its Purchase for Progress (P4P) activity in the Central African Republic (C.A.R.). Through this initiative funded by the United States, Germany and Japan, WFP plans to support 12,000 small-scale farmers by purchasing over 400 metric tons of food for its school meals programme during the next few months.
“The activity benefits farmers and school children alike. It provides small-scale farmers with market opportunities, improving their livelihoods and boosting the local economy. At the same time, the rice and beans purchased through P4P will be supplied as school meals for 80,000 children, encouraging parents to send their children to school,” said Bienvenu Djossa, WFP Country Director in the C.A.R.
“These are small but important steps in a context where the ongoing crisis has disrupted people’s livelihoods, and has had a devastating impact on the country’s agriculture and economy,” said Djossa.
An initial purchase of red beans from Bouar, Nana-Mambere prefecture − a traditional farming region in the northwestern area of the C.A.R. that has been heavily affected by the conflict− is already benefitting some 3,500 small-scale farmers and 20,000 school children. WFP plans to expand the P4P activity to other regions such as Ouham-Pende and Ouham prefectures.
Nearly 900,000 people are still displaced inside the C.A.R or taking refuge in neighbouring countries since the onset of the conflict in 2013. It is estimated that 1.8 million people currently require humanitarian food assistance in the C.A.R., which was one of the world’s poorest countries even before the conflict. On average, WFP and its partners provide food and nutrition support to nearly half a million people per month.
Through a pilot initiative over five years (2009-2013) in 20 countries, WFP began exploring ways of using its food purchases to help develop staple crop markets and spur improvements in smallholder agriculture. As a result of the successful pilot phase, P4P changed the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers in 20 different countries. Today, the efforts to connect smallholder farmers to markets are being scaled up as the progamme is becoming part of WFP’s regular business.
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