Benefits to smallholders? Evaluating the world food programme’s purchase for progress pilot
This article, published in the Global Food Security journal, examines the impacts of the United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP’s) Purchase for Progress (P4P) program on smallholder farmers in Tanzania. P4P is a multi-year, multi-country pilot that sought to improve smallholder farmer wellbeing through a combination of food purchases from farmer organizations and supply-side interventions. The authors examine the impacts of P4P on smallholder farmers in Tanzania, using panel data on members of participating and comparison farmer organizations. P4P targeted participants based on pre-existing warehouses locations. To account for possible selection on observables, the authors use propensity score matching, limiting the sample to participating farmers and their matches, and then compute conditional difference-in-differences. While participating small farmers increase their commercial farming activity relative to comparison farmers, they did not find evidence of increased income, increased food consumption scores or increased crop value. The article discusses possible factors contributing to these findings, including WFP’s diverse objectives and the targeting of farmer organizations rather than smallholders.