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WFP to buy maize directly from farmers

World Food Programme (WFP) will purchase part of its planned 75,000 metric tonnes of maize from Tanzania directly from the smallholders farmers to boost rural economies, its senior officer has said.

The Head of Supply Chain for WFP Tanzania Office, Riaz Lodhi said they would also buy from farmers to contribute in strengthening local economies and supporting the increased resilience and productivity of rural communities.

“We will buy from NFRA and directly from farmers. We are waiting for experts from our regional offices to work out a strategy for buying straight from farmers as well,” he told the ‘Daily News’ in an interview.

WFP plans to buy 75,000 metric tonnes of maize from Tanzania in the next six months, as it continues to expand reliable market access to corns from the country. WFP Executive Director, David Beasley, said in Dar es Salaam last month that the UN organisation would buy between 75,000 and 100,000 metric tonnes of maize in Tanzania up from 30,000 metric tonnes it had already bought so far this year.

The WFP boss pledged to support Tanzania’s smallholder farmers to move away from subsistence farming and improve their food security. He said WFP would also support the smallholder farmers by addressing the causes of post harvest losses in key commodity crops, access to extension services, quality inputs and access to markets.

In 2015/2016, the WFP commissioned a comprehensive Zero Hunger Strategy Review on food security and nutrition in the east African nation based on the targets of Sustainable Development Goal number two --zero hunger. Mr Beasley said the WFP has co-designed a multi-stakeholder initiative to increase the incomes of 250,000 smallholder farmers in prioritised regions.

Under the support, the WFP will specifically target women farmers both in farming and in small-scale processing, said the WFP chief. He visited Ruvuma rural community to inspect progress of Farm to Market Alliance initiative to help smallholder farmers boosting their incomes and improve market opportunities of their crops.

Maize is one of the most important food crops in Tanzania, it comprises 45 per cent of the cultivated area Tanzania has ranked among the top 25 maize producing countries in the world in the last two decades.

The production of maize accounts for more than 70 percent of the cereal produced in the country. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, maize production amounted to 6 million tonnes in 2015, compared to 4.7 million tonnes in 2010, representing an increase of 28 per cent.

The production in 2016– 2017 was expected to reach 6.3 million tonnes against a domestic demand of 5.2 million tonnes. As the world’s leading humanitarian agency, the World Food Programme (WFP) is a major buyer of staple food – some 80 percent of which comes from developing countries – for a cash value of over US$ 1 billion a year.

By adopting smallholderfriendly procurement, WFP contributes to strengthening local economies and supporting the increased resilience and productivity of rural communities – one of the pillars of its hunger eradication strategy.

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Author: By HENRY LYIMO

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