Pope Francis addressed the 2016 annual meeting of the United Nations’ World Food Programme today in Rome. He urged the world community to denaturalize and debureacratize extreme poverty and hunger. He said that “the World Food Programme [WFP] has shown that it is possible to coordinate scientific knowledge, technical decisions and practical actions with efforts aimed at obtaining resources and distributing them impartially.”
Purchase for Progress (P4P) is an important part of these efforts to develop local capacities and eliminate dependence. The WFP initiated P4P in 2008 to buy food directly from smallholder farmers in developing countries. To accomplish this, P4P works with smallholder farmers to generate a food surplus that it then purchases and distributes to communities in need.
As part of our work with the WFP in about a dozen countries, we developed Sell More For More (SMFM), a signature tool, to help smallholder farmers transition into selling high quality crops for P4P to buy. SMFM also helps farmers strengthen post-harvest handling practices to minimize loss and improve management and marketing activities.
With the P4P pilot program over, the WFP has mandated that 10 percent of the food it purchases in developing countries come from smallholder farmers. Thanks to our past collaborations, the WFP asked us to develop guidance materials to assist countries purchase from smallholder farmers. We submitted guidance materials on such best practices last week and look forward to future collaborations to help the WFP work toward #ZeroHunger. We are proud to do our small part in assisting the WFP as it, in Pope Francis’s words, “not only respond[s] to urgent needs, but also carr[ies] out sound projects and promote[s] long-term development programmes.”