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Each time the World Food Programme (WFP) rolls out cash transfers, supply chain experts are involved right from the start.

Are the people we support getting the best value for money with their cash assistance? Are they able to cover their basic food requirements, or are shop prices too high due to inefficient or disrupted supply chains? Is the quality of the food they buy safeguarded? Can the retail sector supply the additional demand generated by our cash-based transfers, month after month? Are there enough nutritious foods available throughout the year?

Combining decades of experience delivering food assistance with creativity and agility in crafting the most appropriate responses to fast-changing needs, WFP’s supply chain staff works to ensure that the people we serve receive the type of assistance that best suits them within the local context.

WFP recognizes that one size does not fit all. In some cases, we work with selected retailers, where beneficiaries can buy the food they prefer. In others, we opt for unrestricted cash, allowing recipients to decide how, where and when to purchase what they need for their families.

WFP launches a variety of assessments of different sectors, such as retail, finance and technology, to choose the appropriate tool – whether it is cash, vouchers or e-cards – to meet the programmatic objectives in the local context  .

In areas where we operate, we study local retail conditions, supply chain networks, prices and potential bottlenecks or inefficiencies that we can help remove

We help selected wholesalers and retailers plan ahead to avoid potential supply breaks and negotiate better prices from suppliers and transporters. We work across the entire supply chain with the broader goal to improve retail management in local markets, and ensure that our beneficiaries have access to good quality foods that are consistently in stock and available at fair prices. We support retailers to better manage their inventories, purchase their stocks, and arrange transport and storage, so that they are able to provide the best possible service to all customers of WFP-contracted shops. Together, we apply business solutions to humanitarian problems.

While our focus lies on how best to support the people we serve, our work on strengthening retail supply chains helps entire communities who shop at the same stores. After our operations end, we leave behind a more robust, sustainable and competitive sector, where nutritious food is available – month after month – at affordable prices and poor families reap the benefits of supply chain efficiencies.