The World Food Programme (WFP) purchased US$22 Million worth of food in Ghana between 2008 and 2012 from food suppliers and farmers.
The food items mainly bought through traditional large competitive tendering, consisted of maize, iodized salt, beans and local rice, Ms Magdalena Owusu Moshi, Deputy Country Director said on Wednesday in Sunyani.
Ms Moshi was speaking at the 2014 Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative annual consultative workshop organized by WFP for 26 Farmer-Based Organisations (FBOs) from the Ashanti and Northern Regions.
The two-day workshop, on the theme “Reviewing the Performance of P4P Implementation – Achievements, Challenges and the Way-forward,” was attended by 60 participants from 16 and 10 FBOs in Ashanti and Northern Regions respectively.
Its objective was to allow WFP’s P4P and associated partners to collectively review progress to date, and to discuss key lessons learnt during the second year of its implementation in Ghana.
Ms Moshi stated the P4P, a WFP initiative, started in Ghana in 2011 as a five- year pilot programme, aimed at helping smallholder farmers to become competitive players in agricultural markets, by improving their food production to obtain higher quality crops and increasing their access to markets.
She said the P4P initiative had been largely successful for the participating 1,524 smallholder farmers, comprising 576 from the Northern and 948 from the Ashanti Regions in the 26 farmer groups.
Ms Moshi said the WFP had provided the farmers with some basic farming equipment and logistics, adding that it had also bought 3,251 metric tonnes of white maize worth US$1.6 Million from them.
She said by assisting the farmers to sell their produce at fair prices boosted their incomes to improve their livelihoods, the P4P initiative was ultimately helping to address some of the root causes of hunger in a developing country like Ghana, where smallholder farmers are some of the most food-insecure people.
Mr Samuel Adjei, Programme Officer for the P4P initiative of WFP, Ghana in a slide presentation informed participants on the “Status of P4P Implementation in 2013: Achievements and Challenges”.
He said capacity building services the P4P initiative provided to the farmers included the use of drying fertilizers, use of cleaning facilities, fumigation, storage, removing discoloured grains, removing broken/small grains, removing foreign matter, drying, weighing and bagging, transportation and marketing.
Later in an interview, Mr Adjei said the P4P initiative was being piloted specifically in the Ejura-Sekyedumase District of the Ashanti Region, as well as Tolon, Kunbugu and Saneligu in the Tamale Metropolis of the Northern Region.
He said it sought to build the capacity of the farmers through collaboration with supply side partners such as the Adventist Relief Agency (ADRA), Farm Radio International (FRI), Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), Crops Research Institute (CRI) and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).
He said equipment and materials provided to the farmers included rice reapers, tarpaulins and Grain Moisture Content Testers.GNA