"Life has improved since I joined this cooperative and we are now all happy," says Patricia Murekatete with a broad smile.
Patricia, a 46-year-old mother of four children, is a member of the Kotebaru Farmers’ Cooperative in the Eastern Province of Rwanda. Since she joined the cooperative in 2012, Patricia’s impoverished family has benefited from the increased income generated by her participation.
The One UN is committed to building the capacities of small-holder farmers through the World Food Programme (WFP)’s Purchase for Progress Program (P4P). Utilizing a local purchasing strategy, the WFP, in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda (GoR) and other One UN partners, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), have educated farmers in post-harvest handling and storage, marketing, financial management, and institutional strengthening. Currently over 52,000 small-holder farmers benefit from the program’s approach for achieving sustainable food security and a more diverse economic base.
Additionally, by providing a reliable market for their produce, P4P provides farmers with a renewed incentive to invest in food production. WFP works especially to create linkages to financial institutions and diverse markets, including local traders and the GoR itself, through the Ministry of Agriculture, which uses WFP's local purchasing approach to buy goods for the National Strategic Grain Reserve.
Together with other participating cooperative members, Patricia was trained in post-harvest handling and storage, which gave her the skills she needed to sell her maize to WFP and other buyers. Just last year, Patricia’s sales resulted in an income of US$1000, which allowed her to pay school fees for her four children and medical insurance for the entire family. By purchasing locally, WFP and the One UN is empowering farmers by giving them access to markets, credit, and business opportunities.