5 farmers who turned their lives around with the P4P pilot project
ROME—Over the past four years, the Purchase for Progress initiative has empowered thousands of families around the world overcome hunger and poverty by becoming better farmers.
It helps them to grow more and higher-quality food, become players in their local food markets, learn to manage risks and build communities able to feed themselves—even in times of crisis.
As P4P enters the fifth and final years of its pilot phase, here’s what five farmers who’ve taken part in the project have to say about what they’ve accomplished.
Calendaria de Jesus Sermeno says that learning how to grow higher-quality crops has helped to put women farmers like her on an even footing with the men. “Women and men feel they are at the same level by working together and we have the opportunity to manage ourselves,” she says. It’s also attracting buyers who are willing to pay a premium for higher quality food.
In the world’s newest country, Oyat says P4P helped him make the leap from living on what he can grow to living on what he can earn from selling food at the market. After two years of taking part in the project, he’s expanded his farm from two acres to ten. Oyat, 25, says that he’ll used the profit from his next crop study agriculture in Juba.
Deo Bapfaguleka says that P4P helped the farmers in his cooperative tip the scales in their favour at the local market. “We used to add stones to our produce because we knew that the [merchants] were weighting their scales,” he said. “Now we work hard to ensure quality because we have a buyer who will pay us a fair price for our food.” Bapfaguleka says that with the extra money they earned selling food to WFP, they bought new, regulation scales so the traders wouldn’t be able to cheat them anymore.
For years, John Mbalule used to sell his crop right after he harvested it, when prices were lowest, because he didn’t have anywhere to store them. That’s changed with a new warehousing system made available to farmers like him through P4P. “Now we can store our maize and sell it when the price is good,” he says. That means more money for him and more food on the local markets between one harvest and the next.
Angelo lives far away from the nearest market and never used to sell his crops at all until P4P gave him a reliable customer. In addition to learning how to become a commercial farmer, he’s made enough money to build a new house and pay his children’s school feels. “I also bought a mobile phone to communicate with other farmers in the village,” he said.