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Under the World Food Programme's Purchase for Progress (P4P) project, we are undergoing a great deal of work to link nutrition and agriculture. Efforts are many and varied based upon country contexts, but here are a couple exciting and innovative examples:
In Afghanistan P4P supports linkages between smallholder farming and nutrition, with an emphasis on soya production and by supporting millers to produce fortified flour while buying smallholders' crops. Plus, a mobile factory has been introduced to produce High Energy Biscuits (HEB) for sale on the local market and use in WFP emergency responses. The biscuit factory is sourcing part of the soy and wheat used to make HEB from smallholder farmers participating in P4P. The pioneering design of this factory is particularly exciting. Because it is made of mobile containers that take up minimal space and can be installed quickly they can be used in a variety of rural or conflict environments, where lack of infrastructure might otherwise make it difficult to produce fortified foods locally. Read more
In Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia we are working closely with HarvestPlus and national governments to increase the availability of micronutrient-rich staple foods. P4P-supported smallholder farmers are cultivating biofortified crops such as Iron Beans, Vitamin A Maize and Vitamin A Sweet Potato, benefiting from home consumption of these nutritious foods, as well as selling their produce which is used as seed as well as in school meals programmes. Read more
4. Please share any relevant case studies about empowering women and youth in agriculture to achieve better food security.
While working with P4P, one of the most inspiring women I've met was Mazouma Sanou, a farmer from Burkina Faso. She spoke about her experience at P4P's 2014 Annual Consultation.
Mazouma is married and the mother of three children. She's a member of a P4P-supported cooperative union called UPPA-Houet, which has 20,500 members, 11,000 of whom are women. Mazouma contributes maize, sorghum, and niébé (cowpeas) to her union’s sales to WFP.
Mazouma also works as a field monitor paid by WFP and OXFAM to coach 25 rural women’s groups affiliated to her union, assisting them to produce and earn more. She works as an intermediary between groups and partners, and assists women to better organize their groups. She also supports them throughout the production process, making sure their products meet standards and working with them to improve their marketing and gain access to credit.
Mazouma says that since their involvement in P4P, many women are able to make family decisions in collaboration with their husbands. She states that this has made income management easier, allowing families to plan for the possibility of unexpected illness, and to set aside money for enrolling their children in school.
“Women have to help educate their husbands. Dialogue can certainly change attitudes, but you can’t command people to do things,” she says. “I ask the woman ‘if you get that money, what will you do,’ and she says ‘help the children,’ so I say ‘your husband can take another wife but your children can’t have another mother. Your children can really benefit from this.’”
When asked about the future of her cooperative, Mazouma says, “from the very start P4P has been a school where we have learned how to improve our work, how to improve quality. I think we need more training, so women can help women train each other and develop their work.”
“If you help a man you help one family, if you help a woman you help the country.”
(Read more about Mazouma in this interview)