WFP is working to unlock opportunities for smallholder farmers

CP1oIbwUsAECLP0Last month at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the World Food Program announced a landmark agreement that centers on smallholder farmers, a group that represents half of the 80 million people the agency serves each year.

In partnership with stakeholders from public and private sectors, the WFP’s Patience Procurement Platform aims to connect 1.5 million smallholders to commercial markets and supply chains, rendering them more independent.

Describing how the PPP will make a difference, Mahadevan Ramachandran, deputy director of procurement within the WFP supply chain division, called for more assistance from global development professionals to boost the venture, highlighting the need for more expertise in the supply and finance side, as well as support with facilitating partnerships.

“We [also] need a lot more cash investment on the risk side too — both in terms of human capital and financial resources,” he said. “There is a lot ofCQkz0V7WIAAsIIM donor money going for assistance to charity, but we need a lot more high-risk capital and insurance that allows local banks to be able to lend to a farmers without having fears, either perceived or real, of them not repaying.”

Through the platform’s work we can already see more financial experts assisting WFP with the platform, as the political momentum is being converted into actual people and instruments on the ground.

Additionally, there are already $40 million worth of contracts that have gone out to farmers, meanwhile new buyers are showing interest in the platform; marking 2016 as the year that WFP has proved it’s ability to expand and scale up it’s operations significantly. It’s now more a question of how WFP will structure the collective pieces of the value chain in a synchronized manner for success.

To find out more about WFP’s work on the Patience Procurement Platform, read the full interview with Mr. Ramachandran on Devex.com.

Originally Published: Devex.com | 22 February 2016