Addis Ababa February 26/2013 The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) announced that farmers' cooperatives in Ethiopia have begun delivering maize to WFP. The amount is enough to support more than 1.8 million people for a month.
According to a statement it sent to ENA on Tuesday, WFP had signed contracts with 16 cooperative unions for purchase of over 28,000 metric tons of maize last year.
The first deliveries on those contracts began arriving at WFP warehouses last week. The maize will be used for WFP relief distributions in Ethiopia.
"Our goal here is to support Ethiopia feeding itself," the statement quoted WFP Country Director Abdou Dieng as saying.
"Buying food for our Ethiopia operation right here in Ethiopia makes sense in cost-effectiveness, and in providing a boost for the local economy by helping small farmers to get closer to markets," the director said.
This is being done under the WFP's Purchase for Progress initiative (P4P), which is financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and implemented in collaboration with the Ethiopian government through the Agricultural Transformation Agency.
In 2012, WFP has purchased more than 112,000 metric tons of food in Ethiopia , which is more than any other country in Africa.
About 90 per cent of the amount has been used directly for WFP operations within Ethiopia.
Last year WFP assisted more than six million people throughout Ethiopia, including refugees, the statement said.