In 2008 The World Food Programme (WFP) piloted a programme to direct a percentage of its procurement to smallholder farmers in developing countries. The pilot – Purchase for Progress (P4P) – took place in 21 countries. KIT undertook value chain research for WFP in six of those countries and delivered recommendations for programme implementation at P4P’s midway point.
Improving procurement and production practices
WFP employed two complementary strategies – capacity building and procurement – to increase production, aggregation, and marketing of quality produce. This was expected to lead to the fulfilment of one of the higher level P4P objectives – to raise smallholder farmers’ income from agricultural markets; improvements were not only for supplying the WFP, but also for selling to other buyers and for household consumption.
KIT came in at the midpoint of the five-year pilot to help WFP better understand how the programme could lead to more reliable smallholder procurement, while improving smallholder livelihoods.
The research took place in 6 countries:
- Burkina Faso
- El Salvador
KIT’s participatory value chain research documented the views of a wide array of stakeholders, and provided analysis and lessons from the programme to be shared across countries. This resulted in a better understanding of the needs of each stakeholder, more efficient procurement for WFP, and improved farming practices and income for smallholder maize and soy farmers.
Lessons across regions
KIT also conducted three regional ‘writeshops’ with the same six countries (and neighbouring ones) which further drew out lessons for each region – East Africa, West Africa and Central America. These writeshops also brought stakeholders together to share cross border lessons. The focus was on understanding processes of change, and why various stakeholders – from smallholders through their farmers organisations to the WFP itself – act as they do.
A third phase of this research was to compile the findings and analysis in a global synthesis report. The report illustrated the experiences of stakeholders, drew out key lessons, and presented suggestions on the way forward. KIT presented this final paper at the WFP Annual Review meeting.