Ambassador Cousin visits Kenya and Uganda

On January 20, 2011, at the World Food Program (WFP) headquarters, Ambassador Cousin and Franklin Moore, Senior Development Officer briefed the Permanent Representatives for Uganda, Ambassador Rwabita and Kenya, Ambassador Gaita; WFP senior officials; the WFP Uganda Country Director; and a representative from the WFP Kenya Country Office on their recent trip to Kenya and Uganda. From December 7-14, 2010, Ambassador Cousin and Mr. Moore visited Kenya and Uganda where they observed the activities of the WFP’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) programs in both countries.

Observations showed that P4P and its purchasing power is a catalyst for transforming maize marketing in the countries visited. P4P has contributed strongly to farmers and small scale traders’ understanding of the various quality aspects that the market seeks, allowing them to more successfully compete with medium scale traders. The procurement volume of WFP is an important contributor to the creation and success of warehouse receipt systems like that of the Uganda Commodity Exchange, as is the combined purchasing power of members of the East African Grains Council; and the purchasing power and purchasing guarantees of WFP have helped banks to better understand the risks related to providing credit to smallholder grain producers in Uganda; however it is the presence of warehouse receipt systems that categorically changes the behavior of banks there.

In the January 20 th briefing, Ambassador Cousin discussed the three sites visited in Kenya and the three sites visited in Uganda, describing the opportunities and challenges she observed in both countries.  She noted that despite the challenges, she was very pleased to see a strong commitment of both governments, something that is essential in making the program a success. The Ambassador expressed that in P4P – WFP is a catalyst and the goal of the program is to create a “real” system, a people’s system beyond a donor-partner system.  Franklin Moore made a comparison of both countries and also discussed trade issues between Kenya and Uganda.  Ambassador Rwabita and Ambassador Gaita along with WFP officials expressed their gratitude to the Ambassador and Mr. Moore for taking the time to visit the programs in Uganda and Kenya and for their very informative briefing.