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Purchasing food from developing countries a ‘win-win’ situation – UN

Purchasing food from developing countries a ‘win-win’ situation – UN

The Manyaka Cooperative in Uganda sells its harvest to WFP
The United Nations World Food Programme is purchasing most of its food from developing countries in a ‘win-win’ situation for both parties, according to the chief of the agency, which last year paid cash to poorer nations for a record 80 per cent of its food.

The world’s largest humanitarian organization, WFP bought 2.1 million metric tons valued at over $760 million from 69 developing countries in 2007, with Uganda as the largest supplier.

The agency has a policy of buying food locally when and where there is an abundance, but it avoids these markets at times of scarcity in order to avoid distorting prices.

“Local purchases create win-win situations to hunger,” said Josette Sheeran, WFP’s Executive Director. “In an era of soaring food prices – which hit hardest those already hungry – such solutions are more critical than ever.”

To offset a surge in prices, the agency buys food in local markets in developing countries where prices can be lower and which are located close to where WFP distributes supplies.

Rising fuel and commodity costs have impacted WFP’s ability to supply food to the hungry, but transport costs are minimized through the agency’s delivery of food purchased in developing countries either locally or regionally.

“Buying ‘local’ helps provide more income for small-scale farmers, while saving money for WFP,” said Ms. Sheeran, who is currently in Davos, Switzerland, to speak about local food procurement and other issues at the World Economic Forum to be held later this week.