Cooperative unions in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region have received five prefabricated warehouses from the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) as part of the WFP’s Purchase for Progress initiative (P4P). The region is one of the country’s highest grain producing areas.
Speaking at the handing over of the keys of the warehouses in Butajira, WFP Deputy Country Director Pascal Joannes said, “These new warehouses will help cooperative unions reduce post-harvest losses, and also to order more maize from smallholder farmers and thus encourage them to increase their production.”
The warehouses each have a storage capacity of 2,000 metric tons and represent a total investment of around 28 million ETB.
In addition to warehouse buildings, WFP has also provided the cooperative unions with essential equipment – such as grain cleaning machines and fumigation material – as well as with training in warehouse operation and management to improve maize storage.
Currently, agricultural specialists estimate that between 10 percent and 20 percent of staple crops in East Africa are lost because of post-harvest storage and handling problems. The training in warehouse storage is aimed at addressing this issue, helping farmers to lose less maize to moisture or rodents.
WFP’s P4P initiative aims to use WFP’s purchasing power to connect small-scale farmers to markets. P4P supports more than 120,000 smallholder farmers in Ethiopia, more than in any other country. From the beginning of the project in 2010 until the end of last year, P4P has purchased over 113,000 metric tons of food from Ethiopian smallholder farmers via cooperative unions.