Matching food demand with supply in Africa

An innovative development initiative, combining support to agricultural production with institutional food procurement, is under way in five African countries, and it’s getting great results.

It’s called the Purchase from Africans for Africa (PAA Africa) Programme and it was was the topic of discussion at Thursday’s side event ”Connecting family farmers to institutional markets” during the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).

In a nutshell, PAA Africa matches the food demand of schools and other public institutions with agricultural supply from local smallholders and farmers organisations. Initiated in 2012, the programme is now being implemented in Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger and Senegal.

It is a joint programme implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), with the support of the Brazilian Government and the Department for International Development (DFID) in the United Kingdom. It is based on the principles of ”The Zero Hunger Strategy” of Brazil.

PAA Africa provides participating smallholder farmers with productive support, as well as stable and guaranteed market access through institutional food purchases linked to school feeding initiatives.

By increasing income of smallholder farmers, PAA Africa contributes to social protection through improvement of education and health of the most vulnerable children, and the local economy. It helps to increase school enrolment and school performance. The programme also provides school children with diversified diets, with menus designed accordingly to WFP and government guidelines.

In Senegal

”The first thing we observed is that a family farm that produced 800 kg of rice per hectare, now produces 3 tons of rice per hectare,´ Aly Mohamed dit Sega Camera of Senegal explains.

”We used to say to people, grow trees and we will support you. And then actually when they had these products to put on the market, there was nobody that wanted to buy them. We did not have these problems with this programme because the PAA Africa provided the link with the school canteens.”

The Senegal Government extended the  programme, stipulating that local produce must be sold to the army, to the health sector, and to universities. Today the PAA Africa is part of  its national programme.

PAA Africa also addresses gender inequality by supporting, for example, women cooperatives for rice production in Senegal, providing a productivity increase of over 300 percent.

The active involvement of national partners in programme implementation and management has increased ownership, strengthened capacities, and laid the foundations for the sustainability of PAA Africa.

The use of locally-procured food in school meals requires developing special menus and school capacities. That means building knowledge of locally-used products and recipes, respecting nutrional requirements, and encouraging acceptance and appreciation among pupils.

Gambia

In Gambia, nutrition in schools is taught using guidelines developed by FAO and by promoting school gardens as learning centres for pupils. Around 180 school gardens have been created.

There are several school implementation models. For instance, in Malawi, PAA Africa activities are linked with national plans on school health and nutrition policy. FAO provided input for the discussion on coherence between national policy frameworks and operations in the field. In 10 schools in Malawi, WFP provided training on best practices in school health and nutrition and in partnership with WFP, FAO started to disseminate this best practice on households and communities.

The farmers who are selling to the school now have a stable market and can plan their production in advance, while they receive training in production and commercialization. The community involvement in the programme has also increased through voluntary work and the provision of local building materials, firewood, water and cooking among other responsibilities.

The PAA Africa is the most productive programme that has been implemented in terms of supporting global efforts to eradicate hunger and malnutrition and I look forward to seeing more developing countries enter this programme.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. So let’s keep the good work!

 

This blogpost was written by Anca Bîltac, #CFS43 Social Reporter-- anca.biltac(at)madr.ro

Photo courtesy: Haley Wilke  (on Flickr)

This post is part of the live coverage during the 43rd Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). This post is written by one of our social reporters, and represents the author’s views only

24/10/2016 11:00

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