The United Nations World Food Programme has reopened its fresh food corners at Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar, allowing trade and business activities to resume after months of closure due to COVID-19 prevention measures.
By May 2021, WFP hopes to bring the farmers’ market to 30 per cent of the population at the camps in Cox’s Bazar, with monthly transactions touching US$ 500,000.
An important economic opportunity for local farmers and traders in Cox’s Bazar, the fresh food corners have benefitted both the refugees and their host community, the WFP said on Wednesday.
The fresh food corners are part of the Farmers’ Market initiative where local smallholder farmers and traders are engaged in selling their produce at WFP e-voucher outlets and farmers’ market sites at the camps.
From there, Rohingya families can get a variety of foods using their WFP Assistance Card. WFP then transfers the money directly to the farmers and traders.
‘This initiative shows the dual benefits that can come out of a humanitarian response. WFP is proud to be supporting the local community and the Rohingya families, to improve their lives and contribute to social cohesion,’ said Richard Ragan, WFP country director in Bangladesh.
‘WFP plans to take this initiative further so that more local farmers and retailers can benefit from this programme,’ he said.
Before the farmers’ market had to be paused due to the pandemic, around US$ 47,000 were transferred to 12 smallholder farmers and traders from the local community every month.
With the reopening, four market sites are now active, with a combined transaction of more than US$ 100,000 each month.
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