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Cablegate: Ninewa: Wide-Ranging Prt Support Boosts

VZCZCXRO7667
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #1111/01 1001628
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091628Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6769
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BAGHDAD 001111

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE PASS USAID

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAGR SENV EAID PGOV PHUM IZ
SUBJECT: NINEWA: WIDE-RANGING PRT SUPPORT BOOSTS
AGRICULTURAL SECTOR

This is a Ninewa Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) message.

Summary
-------

1. (SBU) Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) Ninewa has
worked closely over the last year with farmers, produce
processors and GOI agencies to support the province's
struggling agricultural sector. The sector is crucial to
fighting provincial unemployment: rural residents rely on
grain production, processors add jobs at canning and
packaging factories, and merchants employ shippers and
traders. Several of the PRT's agricultural projects have led
to concrete successes in economic development and community
organizing this year.

Tractors Pull Groups Together
and Finance Input Purchases
------------------------------

2. (SBU) Using USD 225,000 in Quick Response Funds (QRF), the
PRT in March 2008 donated nine Case-New Holland tractors to
three multi-ethnic/multi-sectarian farmers' associations
across rural Ninewa. The PRT targeted the tractor donation
to serve dual goals. First, it directed industrial demand
toward the Askandariya-based State Company for Mechanical
Industries, a major target of DOD's Task Force for Business
and Stability Operations (TF-BSO). Second, it provided an
incentive for Kurds, Sunni Arabs, Shia Shabak and various
Christian sects to join their local association. The local
Director General (DG) of Agriculture committed to provide
training on modern tractor use to the associations' members.
The PRT facilitated media coverage of the associations
through Coalition Forces and Embassy media offices.

3. (SBU) Where some of the sects involved in the associations
have historically engaged in competition and conflict, they
are now dedicated through the associations to finding common
solutions to shared agricultural problems, such as high
prices for farm inputs like seed, fertilizer and fuel. In
one association, community leaders have already more than
matched the PRT's donation with their own funds for plows and
harvesting equipment that guarantees true local buy-in. In
another, community leaders bought spraying equipment that has
already been deployed with the tractors to apply pesticides
to this year's grain crop. The associations hope not only to
use the tractors themselves, but also rent them out. Rental
profits will be plowed back into the associations for the
joint use of all members to buy needed farm inputs.

Institutional Benefits Spreading
Throughout Province
---------------------------------

4. (SBU) The first three diverse farm associations mentioned
above are only a beginning. Word-of-mouth and recognition of
the benefits gained from grassroots organizing have already
prompted the leaders of more than 20 additional associations
to approach the PRT for assistance with organizing and
government advocacy. The PRT plans to assist each with
financial management training, basic equipment support to
their offices and connections to legal advice on how best to
organize and register.

Ground-breaking Meetings
Among Provincial Leaders
--------------------------

5. (SBU) In February, the PRT facilitated the first ever
meeting of the DG of Agriculture and the leadership of the
Agriculture Committee of the Provincial Council. Given the
current severe drought and shortage of fuel needed to run
irrigation pumps, the DG said the province's grain production
would be 25 percent of its potential this year and that sheep
herders face drastic cuts to their herds. In a stop-gap
measure, the DG and the Provincial Council agreed to work
together to deliver government-purchased fodder for sheep
herds. The first deliveries were made in mid-March.

Support for Financing and Processors
------------------------------------

6. (SBU) Going beyond producers, the PRT is working closely

BAGHDAD 00001111 002 OF 002


with USAID's Inma program to explore support to tomato,
sesame paste and fodder processors across the province. In
addition, the PRT in March hosted the first joint meeting
among representatives of the Agricultural Bank and rural
processors interested in formal financing for packaging
plants. The meeting gave the processors their first
opportunity to speak directly with the bank about the
specifics of the loan application process. Follow-up
meetings are planned to help the processors pursue financing
opportunities.

Long-term Support With Training and Infrastructure
--------------------------------------------- -------

7. (SBU) Looking to the future, the PRT is working closely
with academic leaders and the agricultural extension service
to build the GOI's capacity to train Iraqi farmers in methods
they may not have had exposure to under the Saddam regime.
In addition, the PRT is supporting meetings and discussions
between the GOI and local leaders to discuss directly how
Iraqi money could be spent to improve irrigation canals and
pumps in western Ninewa.

Comment: Ninewa Farmers Benefit from Institutional Support
--------------------------------------------- -------------

8. (SBU) Ninewa's farmers have benefited this year from real
progress made with PRT programs, ranging from institutional
support like farmers' associations and training to financing
opportunities through Inma or local banks. While neither the
USG nor the GOI can directly address scarcity in the fuel,
seed and fertilizer markets, joint efforts patterned on the
PRT's successes in the last year offer a way for farmers and
GOI officials to pursue collaboratively their own long-term
solutions.
BUTENIS

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