From Food Aid to Food Assistance with Ertharin Cousin, World Food Program

For the second episode in our brand new series of Farming First TV interviews, we spoke to Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), for an update on the Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative.

Launched in 2008, P4P enables low-income farmers to supply their crops to WFP operations. Cousin describes how WFP serves as a “catalyst market” in areas where there are no commercial buyers for farmers to sell to.

Cousin stresses the importance of what happens next: “We shouldn’t always buy from them because the reality is that if WFP is the only purchaser then it’s only a program. It only becomes a sustainable and durable economic change for those farmers if we can substitute WFP with either a commercial market buyer or a government buyer.”

In Ethiopia for example, the livelihoods of tens of thousands of farmers have been improved by a collaboration between P4P and Farming First supporter Technoserve, which promotes business solutions for combating poverty.
Cousin says the WFP is increasingly being replaced by other purchasers. “That’s what we’re seeing and that’s why we get really excited about ‘Purchase for Progress’, because it’s made a difference across the entire value chain in a durable way.”

Watch our video for the full interview with Ertharin Cousin.