WFP, Gates and Buffett Foundations Join Forces

    Hundreds of thousands of poor farmers to benefit from initiative
    NEW YORK, Sept. 24 /CNW/ -- The United Nations World Food Programme
(WFP), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Howard G. Buffett
Foundation today unveiled a groundbreaking initiative to help poor farmers
across the developing world significantly increase their incomes.

    The initiative, Purchase for Progress (P4P), aims to help hundreds of
thousands of smallholder farmers access reliable markets to sell surplus crops
at competitive prices, bolstering fragile local economies.

    P4P will help change the way WFP purchases food locally, strengthening
the role of smallholder farmers in agricultural markets, enabling them to gain
more from supplying food to WFP's global operations. It will be launched in 21
pilot countries over the next five years, with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa
and Central America.

    The foundations, along with the Belgian government, have committed US$76

    "The world's poor are reeling under the impact of high food and fuel
prices, and buying food assistance from developing world farmers is the right
solution at the right time," said Josette Sheeran, WFP executive director.
"Purchase for Progress is win-win --- we help our beneficiaries who have
little or no food and we help local farmers who have little or no access to
markets where they can sell their crops."

    Joining Sheeran at the United Nations announcement was Bill Gates,
co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Howard G. Buffett, president
of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation; and the presidents of Rwanda, Tanzania,
and Uganda.

    P4P aims to significantly increase incomes of at least 350,000 farmers in
the pilot countries. Ultimately, the intention is to support farmers to
capitalize on the market offered by WFP and to connect them to other local and
regional food markets.

    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed US$66 million for projects
in 10 African countries. The Howard G. Buffett Foundation committed US$9.1
million for projects in seven countries. The Belgian government contributed
US$750,000 for the Democratic Republic of Congo. Three countries have not yet
been funded.

    WFP is the world's single largest purchaser of food for humanitarian

    The majority of the world's poorest people lives in rural areas and most
rely on agriculture for food and income.

    Melinda Gates and Howard G. Buffett Foundations

    NOTE TO EDITOR: For video clips, b-roll and other media materials visit

For further information:

For further information: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,
+1-206-709-3400, or The United Nations World Food
Programme, +1-646-824-1112

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