The Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First shapes how people think by analyzing the root causes of global hunger, poverty, and ecological degradation and developing solutions in partnership with movements working for social change.
In Ethiopia, it started with the creation of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange in the wake of the famine. Now, the mantra spreads, in radio dramas, government pronouncements, business negotiations: If you grow it, someone will buy it.
The WFP’s partnership with Sidama Elto is part of its Purchase for Progress (P4P) program, which uses the WFP’s purchasing power to create markets for smallholder farmers. Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and implemented in collaboration with the government of Ethiopia through the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), P4P works with the farmers to improve the quality of their crops and the post-harvest handling. Simiret Simeno, deputy manager of Sidama Elto, says that for the first time its 13,000 farmer members see that better quality can bring better prices. And they can also see their contribution to healthier communities, as one of the markets is an expanding network of school feeding programs supplied by locally grown crops rather than food being shipped in from abroad.
The ultimate goal of the WFP purchases is to demonstrate to commercial buyers that smallholder farmers can reliably produce high-quality food worthy of their business. Sustainable success here could also bear witness to the potential impact of President Obama’s proposed food aid reform, which would allow for nearly half of the US food aid budget to be used to buy food nearer to the hunger crises – providing markets for smallholder farmers — rather than shipping it all the way from American farms (as has been the US policy for decades).
These public-private ventures bring both maturity and modernization to markets that hadn’t changed much for centuries. Working with local banks and donor governments, P4P has introduced forward contracts to participating cooperatives and smallholder farmers. The ATA has also been crafting links between farmers and commercial buyers of several crops, like teff, barley, sesame and chickpeas.
(This article was first published on Econometrics Beat: Dave Giles' Blog, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers) Most of us would acknowledge that getting up to speed with R involves a pretty steep learning curve - but it's worth every drop...
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The 2013 World Investment Report comes at an important moment. The international community is making a final push to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by the target date of 2015. At the same time, the United Nations is working to forge a vision for the post-2015 development agenda. Credible and objective information on foreign direct investment (FDI) can contribute to success in these twin endeavours.
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