South-South Cooperation: Brazilian initiatives inspire food security and school feeding programme in Africa


By combining training to smallholder farmers, stable access to institutional markets and school feeding actions, the PAA Africa programme is a pioneering development cooperation initiative.


Photo: Children in elementary school receive food through the PAA Africa programme in Mozambique, 2015 (Janaina Plessmann/FAO) 


By Analice Martins, Communications Assistant



Brasília, 23 February 2017 – Agriculture is the primary source of income for the majority of world’s poor people. However, smallholder farmers need government support to overcome the challenge of gaining market access for the crops they grow. The combination of productive support to smallholder farmers with secure access to institutional markets and school feeding programmes represents a promising opportunity for governments of developing countries. This is the conclusion of the article published by the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) on the results of Phase II of the Purchase from Africans for Africa (PAA Africa) programme


The PAA Africa programme is an innovative development cooperation initiative and seeks to match the food demand of schools and other public bodies with the local supply from smallholders and farmers’ organisations. Initiated in 2012, it was inspired by two Brazilian institutional procurement programmes: the Food Acquisition Programme (Programa de Aquisição de Alimentos—PAA) and the National School Feeding Programme (Programa Nacional de Alimentação Escolar—PNAE). The initiative is a partnership between the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), the Government of Brazil and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).


The programme’s Phase II of was implemented between 2014 and 2016. So far, PAA Africa has benefited 15,998 smallholder farmers and over 37,110 schoolchildren in five African countries: Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger,and Senegal. Following a recommendation from Phase I, the second phase incorporated the gender dimension in its monitoring efforts. Malawi has the highest rate of women’s participation (57.9 per cent) among the five countries of implementation.


Results also show that the programme has successfully strengthened local smallholder farmers and farmers’ organisations by providing the necessary production support—inputs, training, extension services and reinforcement of organisational capacities. The programme has contributed to the dietary diversification among school pupils, which is crucial to assure nutritional security. Most of the participating countries have introduced high-protein foods to school menus, such as legumes, fresh vegetables and fruits. 


Lessons learned from Phase II identified some challenges facing the programme. One of them is the lack of clear strategy to ensure that the same farmer and farmers’ organisations receive both the production support and the access to institutional markets. Delays in farmer payments and transfer of school feeding resources are hurdles that can be addressed by further adapting the programme’s procurement procedures to the specific needs of vulnerable smallholders and schools. 


The PAA Africa programme is intended to be scaled-up and extended to two additional countries—Kenya and the Gambia—between 2016 and 2019.*




(*) Read article "Linking vulnerable smallhoder farmers to school feeding programmes: the experience of PAA Africa" on page 12 of the Policy in Focus magazine titled "Food and nutrition security: towards the full realisation of human rights"