The innovative initiative is being implemented in 20 other countries across the globe, with the objective of linking small holder farmers to markets.
In Ghana, the P4P initiative is built on the successes of the WFP’s local food procurement programme – food purchases rose from US$234,000 in 2003 to US$7.1 million in 2008.
The 5 year pilot programme targets three districts in Ghana – these are mostly rice farmers in Tamale Metropolitan and Tolon Kumbungu district in the Northern region and maize farmers in the Ejira-Sekyeredumasi of Ashanti.
According to Programme Officer, John Sitor, the WFP has been purchasing surplus produce of food security crops like the cereals directly from the farmers, in order not to distort the market.
“This project will in the long way will help the smallholder farmers to engage in other quality markets”, he observed. “Formally we have been purchasing from renowned companies or traders that have to do with competitive tendering, but we thought it that these people have been buying from the smallholder farmers. So this programme is being developed to target the smallholder farmers directly”.
Smallholder farmers in Ghana are often exploited by middlemen in efforts to sell produce, due to their limited knowledge and skills in accessing markets.
Mr. Sitor noted that the introduction of standard weighing scales has opened up opportunities for the farmers to get most from their cereals.
The farmers are improving their livelihoods by earning more from selling the surplus produce to the WFP, he said.
The WFP focuses on reducing chronic hunger and undernutrition, strengthening Ghana’s capacity to reduce hunger, and restoring and rebuilding lives after emergencies.
Story by Kofi Adu Domfeh