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Cablegate: Usg Humanitarian Assistance Team: Livestock and Market

VZCZCXYZ0002
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDS #0369/01 0450448
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 140448Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9549
INFO RUEHAE/AMEMBASSY ASMARA 2126
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 8915
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3376
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 3093
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 4177
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 3026
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 6383
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 7250
RUEHC/DEPT OF INTERIOR WASHDC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCJ2/CCJ5/CCJS//
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 000369

SIPDIS

STATE DEPARTMENT FOR A/S FRAZER, DAS AF JSWAN, AF/E, AF/PDPA, OES,
A/S PRM SAUERBREY, AND PRM/AFR
AFR/AA KALMQUIST, WWARREN, JBORNS, KNELSON, CTHOMPSON
DCHA/AA MHESS, GGOTTLIEB
DCHA/OFDA KLUU, ACONVERY, CCHAN, PMORRIS, KCHANNELL
DCHA/FFP JDWORKEN, PMOHAN, SANTHONY, PBERTOLIN
LONDON, PARIS, ROME FOR AFRICA WATCHER
CJTF-HOA AND USCENTCOM FOR POLAD
USDA/FAS FOR U/S PENN, RTILSWORTH, AND LPANASUK
NAIROBI FOR OFDA/ECARO GPLATT, RFFPO NCOX, USAID/EA
ROME FOR AMBASSADOR, OHA, HSPANOS
BRUSSELS FOR USEU PBROWN
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH, RMA
USUN FOR FSHANKS
NSC FOR PMARCHAN

AIDAC
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PHUM SENV EAGR PGOV ET
REF: A) ADDIS 3644 B) ADDIS 0134 C) ADDIS 0233
SUBJECT: USG HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TEAM: LIVESTOCK AND MARKET
UPDATE


-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. U.S. Government Humanitarian Assistance Team (USG HAT) in
Ethiopia staff report concern regarding the ability of pastoralist
populations to sell their livestock and purchase staple commodities
as a result of ongoing movement and trade restrictions within the
conflict-affected areas of Somali Region. USG HAT field assessments
in Somali Region, including livestock markets and livestock watering
points, indicate a substantial decrease in local trade. In
addition, USG HAT staff note that livestock movement restrictions in
parts of Somali Region undermine the health of livestock herds
confronted with inadequate pasture and water availability.

2. However, USG HAT staff report that reduced trade within
conflict-affected areas of Somali Region has not translated into
reduced livestock export levels in neighboring Somaliland. As a
result, USG HAT staff surmise that cross-border trade from
conflict-affected areas of Somali Region to Somaliland is ongoing,
although at great personal risk and at significantly reduced profit
margins. However, USG HAT staff emphasize the need for closer
examination of livestock trade conditions and obstacles within the
conflict-affected areas of Somali Region to clarify reports of
reduced internal livestock trade and data indicating no change in
external livestock market figures. In addition, USG HAT assessments
and reports from humanitarian organizations operating in the region
confirm lower livestock prices in the region. USG HAT staff note
that declining terms of trade escalate asset depletion, undermine
pastoralist livelihoods, and increase food insecurity. End
Summary.

-----------------------
INTERNAL COMMERCIAL AND LIVESTOCK TRADE REDUCTIONS
-----------------------

3. USG HAT staff note that reports of livestock movement and trade
restrictions varied within the region. However, USG HAT staff
report a reduction in local trade throughout conflict-affected
areas. In some areas, pastoralists identified specific parameters
of permitted movement, while in other areas pastoralists reported no
restrictions and noted the onset of dry season migrations. Current
insecurity has prevented comprehensive mapping and verification of
restricted areas within the conflict-affected areas. During
regional assessment visits, USG HAT observed only small livestock
markets characterized by limited livestock sales. Pastoralists and
non-governmental organization (NGO) staff also reported an absence
of previously common livestock trucking operations to move animals
to export ports.

4. In addition, USG HAT staff report limited availability and
increased prices of commodities, up to two to three times
pre-conflict levels, at rural markets. Traders consistently
attributed the commodity situation to infrequent commercial
deliveries. As reported in reftel ADDIS 0134 and 0233, commodity
availability outside of major towns is very low due to restrictions
that only permit commercial offloading to major towns and district
capitals. In addition, delays associated with required military
escorts and the use of alternate, longer trade routes to bypass

restricted areas have also contributed to increased food commodities
prices in the region.

--------------------
EXTERNAL LIVESTOCK TRADE REMAINS CONSTANT
--------------------

5. USG HAT staff report that reduced trade within conflict-affected
areas of Somali Region has not translated into reduced livestock
export levels in neighboring Somaliland, which is traditionally
dependent on livestock from Somali Region for an estimated 70
percent of total livestock exports. Berbera and Bossaso ports in
Somaliland represent the main livestock export markets in the
region. USG HAT staff point out that if cross-border trade from
Somali Region to Somaliland was blocked, export figures from Bossaso
and Berbera ports would be expected to decline. However, FSAU data
indicates no decline in 2007 export figures, and the number of sheep
and goats exported prior to the main Muslim holiday Eid in December
2007 actually increased compared to 2006 levels. FSAU data did
indicate a decrease in sales from April to June, corresponding to
months of increased military activity within the five
conflict-affected zones of Degehabur, Fik, Korhae, Gode, and Warder.
However, the decrease falls within the normal range for dry season
sales. USG HAT staff note that a limited portion of export totals
may be attributed to an increase of livestock from Djibouti to
Berbera and Bossaso ports, following the reopening of the Saudi
market to live animal trade in January 2006. However, USG HAT staff
emphasize the need for closer examination of livestock trade
conditions and obstacles within the conflict-affected areas of
Somali Region to clarify reports of reduced internal livestock trade
and data indicating no change in external livestock market figures.

--------------------
DECLINING TERMS OF TRADE INCREASE PASTORALIST VULNERABILITY
--------------------

6. USG HAT staff report that the combined effect of reduced
livestock sales and prices and an increased cost of commodities is
negatively affecting pastoralist terms of trade and increasing
livelihood insecurity. According to the Save the Children/UK
(SC/UK) livelihoods profile for Korahe Zone, an average sheep or
goat provides enough income to purchase 130 kilograms (kg) of cereal
in a normal year. However, currently an average sheep or goat will
purchase only about 15 kg or wheat flour or 17 kg of rice.
Similarly, in Gode Zone, the SC/UK livelihoods profile suggests that
an average sheep or goat will provide enough income to purchase 70
kg of sorghum in a normal year. Currently, one sheep or goat will
only purchase approximately 40 kg of food aid wheat or local maize.
(Note: Sorghum was not available on the Gode market for comparison.
End note.)

7. According to a U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA) Somali Region report, only 36 percent of pastoralist
household calorie intake is from milk and meat. The remainder comes
from grains, sugar, tea, beans, pulses, and cooking fats, all of
which must be purchased by pastoral families. The combined effect
of limited commodity availability and increased commodity prices
require pastoralists to sell more animals in order purchase staple
foods. Terms of trade will continue to worsen as the dry season

progresses, livestock conditions decline, and basic commodity prices
increase. At the same time, pastoralist asset depletion will
increase through the increased sale, slaughtering, or loss of
livestock to malnutrition or disease, leading to increased
livelihood insecurity and population vulnerability among
pastoralists.

----------------
STRESS MIGRATION
----------------

8. USG HAT staff note abnormal pastoralist migration patterns
within conflict-affected areas of Somali Region, where populations
are confronting the onset of the dry season, exacerbated by the poor
performance of the 2007 rains and disruptions to normal routes,
resulting from ongoing insecurity. USAID's Famine Early Warning
System Network (FEWS NET) reports migration movement along the
Wabishebelle River up to Babile Zone, Oromiya Region, in addition to
movement in the southern corridor through Afder Zone and into Bale
Zone, Oromiya Region. However, USG HAT staff note cross-border
trade into Somalia does not appear to be significantly affected.
U.N. agencies and NGOs operating in the region attribute ongoing
cross-border trade to high-risk, clandestine trade and the use of
alternate, extended trade routes.

9. Local NGO staff operating in Somali Region report that the
Ethiopia National Defense Forces (ENDF) is focusing on camel
movement and trade within conflict-affected areas of Somali Region,
due to the perception that camels are being used to sustain and
support the Ogaden National Liberation Forces (ONLF). Camel milk is
high in nutrients and can sustain adult populations. Local
residents report that camel herders risk military reprisals if
detained by the ENDF. As a result, pastoralists are keeping camels
close to towns in large numbers, which is rapidly depleting
available resources in these areas.

----------------------------
CONCERNS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
----------------------------

10. Livestock movement restrictions within the conflict-affected
areas of Somali Region are exacerbating the impact of the poor
performance of the 2007 rains on available browse and water
resources, undermining livestock health and pastoralist livelihoods.
Restrictions and the resulting depletion of limited browse and
water resources will increasingly negatively affect animal health in
the coming weeks and months, especially if the April gu rains do not
perform well, as predicted by FEWS NET. USG HAT staff recommend
continued monitoring of livestock health and nutrition during the
duration of the current dry season through March 2007 and longer if
the April rains are poor. In addition, USG HAT emphasize that need
for continued advocacy to ease livestock movement restrictions in
order to protect pastoralist livelihoods in the region.

11. Worsening terms of trade, particularly with regard to cereals
and grains, indicate a strong likelihood that both adults and
children may face serious food shortages as the dry season
progresses and milk availability declines. USG HAT staff recommend
careful monitoring of nutrition indicators in the coming weeks and

months, particularly among the elderly and pregnant and lactating
women, to identify vulnerable populations and inform appropriate
response efforts.

12. To address the limited availability and increased prices of
staple commodities within the conflict-affected areas of Somali
Region requires improvements in both access and availability.
Although USG HAT staff note limited improvement in commercial access
in the region since September 2007, USG HAT staff emphasize that the
opening of trade routes is necessary to prevent a serious decline in
humanitarian conditions, including rural areas. In addition, USG
HAT staff note that an increase in the number and predictability of
required military convoys to accompany commercial traffic would
significantly facilitate the movement of goods into the region,
improving the availability and reducing the price of staple
commodities.

YAMAMOTO

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