Poor farmers to benefit from worldwide initiative


NEW YORK — The United Nations World Food Programme, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation unveiled a groundbreaking initiative to help poor farmers across the developing world significantly increase their incomes.

The initiative, Purchase for Progress, aims to help hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers access reliable markets to sell surplus crops at competitive prices, bolstering fragile local economies.

Purchase for Progress will help change the way the World Food Programme purchases food locally, strengthening the role of smallholder farmers in agricultural markets, enabling them to gain more from supplying food to program’s global operations.

The initiative will be launched in 21 pilot countries over the next five years, with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa and Central America.

The foundations, along with the Belgian government, have committed $76 million.

Josette Sheeran, WFP executive director said, “Purchase for Progress is win-win — we help our beneficiaries who have little or no food and we help local farmers who have little or no access to markets where they can sell their crops.”

Purchase for Progress aims to significantly increase incomes of at least 350,000 farmers in the pilot countries.

Ultimately, the intention is to support farmers to capitalize on the market offered by the World Food Programme and to connect them to other local and regional food markets.

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