As the world marks World Food Day, the World Food Programme (WFP) in Uganda continues to make a meaningful difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable people. At the same time, Uganda is playing an increasingly important role in supplying food for WFP's life-saving operations throughout East Africa. To support that work, WFP has injected nearly US$60 million into the Ugandan economy so far this year through local food purchases, transport contracts and warehousing.
"WFP's work is helping build a more food-secure future both for the poorest Ugandans and for refugees. It also comes with economic benefits for the country as a whole," said WFP Acting Country Director Mike Sackett. "By purchasing food within Uganda for distribution to needy areas within and beyond its borders, WFP is empowering small-scale farmers and private sector traders, and helping Uganda achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)."
With the food purchased for the Uganda office, WFP is assisting more than 600,000 refugees with life-saving food rations, as well as school pupils, malnourished children, and food-insecure women and men in Karamoja. This large-scale effort aside, most of the food purchased by WFP in Uganda this year is being used for life-saving assistance throughout the region, including in South Sudan and Ethiopia.
"We have bought over 97,000 metric tons of grain valued at US$36 million, and issued contracts worth more than US$14 million to 41 local transporting companies to move Ugandan food to where it's needed," Sackett explained. "Another US$7.8 million has been spent on other local purchases and on WFP warehousing in Tororo, Kampala and 12 other storage locations in the country."
Buying food locally allows WFP to reach refugees and other vulnerable people faster and more economically, which enables the organization to do more with each dollar. Companies contracted in Uganda moved the food both within the country and to external destinations.
Some of the food was supplied by small-scale farmers, from whom WFP aims to buy at least 10 percent of its total annual grain purchases in Uganda. Empowering smallholder farmers is a crucial element in working towards SDG 2, Zero Hunger, as investments in smallholder agriculture can strengthen rural economies, build more effective markets, and increase food security and nutrition for those who need it most.
The local purchases were made possible by funding from Canada, Ireland, Japan, the Lift a Life Foundation, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and multilateral donors. These include Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway. A contribution from the European Commission provided critical support for cash-based assistance for refugees, which offers multiple benefits both for refugees and for host communities.
WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 75 countries.
Source: World Food Programme.