MANY leaders who attended the African Union summit in Uganda are leading the way in bringing new energy and commitment to tackling hunger and malnutrition. And the African Union has declared its intent to build an Africa that ends hunger and empowers the continent to both feed itself, and ultimately
MANY leaders who attended the African Union summit in Uganda are leading the way in bringing new energy and commitment to tackling hunger and malnutrition. And the African Union has declared its intent to build an Africa that ends hunger and empowers the continent to both feed itself, and ultimately to help feed the world.
WFP supports this vision and is deploying at Africaâ€™s request tools that empower women and men to overcome their own hunger. WFP also pledges to stand by Africans trapped in conflict and weather-related emergencies who are urgently hungry â€” especially the most vulnerable young children.
When designed right, social protection programmes such as school meals, food for education and food for work are foundations for not just beating hunger and malnutrition, but also drivers for agricultural development and faster economic growth.
Food-based social protection programmes can be one of the largest and most reliable purchasers from smallholder farmers.
They help create community infrastructure such as roads, irrigation, food processing and storage connecting farmers to markets. They help ensure that farmers and others benefit from the food supply chain so food reaches the people who need it most.
For instance, WFP buys $1b of food annually in the developing world. Uganda is WFPâ€™s number one purchase market where WFP operates. WFP is seeking to replicate that success throughout Africa.
Our purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative â€” which is being implemented in 16 African countries â€” builds the capacity of smallholder farmers to connect to markets and raise their incomes. P4P is transforming the lives of smallholder families in villages across Africa.
WFP envisions the day when its emergency operations in Africa will be largely supplied by African farmers. We are gearing programmes to empower people to be food self-sufficient and contribute to the food supply chain.
With the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Howard Buffett Foundation and donor nations, P4P is building capacity with partners such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and guaranteeing markets for smallholder production at fair prices.
WFP is also looking to Africa to supply fortified food products, which will build employment opportunities and help end the scourge of malnutrition in the continent.
Last week, I visited the Millennium Village of Ruhiira in south western Uganda where WFP so far this year has purchased 250 metric tons of beans from 1,000 smallholders in a womenâ€™s association to feed hungry children in drought-stricken Karamoja in the north east.
I pledged to them that WFP would double its purchases in Ruhiira next year because their actions are helping now to transform thousands of lives in the very remote area.
My trip to Africa has included visits to Niger, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the African Union summit in Kampala and Rwanda.
In all these places, we hear the same voices of people wanting empowerment to build better lives and to end food insecurity. WFP, in support of the leaders of the African Union, is here to help them do just that.
The writer is the executive director of the UN World Food Programme
Africa to tackle poverty, hunger and malnutrition