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Cablegate: Addendum: Impact of Rising Food/Agricultural

VZCZCXRO5548
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHNM #0470 1261349
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 051349Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4280
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 0269

UNCLAS NIAMEY 000470

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

EEB/TPP/ABT/ADP FOR JANET SPECK
ACCRA FOR USAID
DAKAR FOR USAID/FFP AND OFDA
ROME FOR FODAG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR EAID PGOV NG
SUBJECT: ADDENDUM: IMPACT OF RISING FOOD/AGRICULTURAL
COMMODITY PRICES - NIGER

REF: NIAMEY 446

1. (U) Following up on reftel report on the impact of rising
food prices on Niger, and after consultation with local WFP
and FEWSNET personnel, Embassy estimates that Niger will need
approximately 120,000 mt of food to tide the country over
until next fall's harvest. The 120,000 mt should be a
combination of rice and sorghum. WFP estimates that the
120,000 mt would cost about $146 million at current prices,
assuming an even split between rice and sorghum.

2. (U) Niger currently has 68,000 mt of food in reserve.
Those reserves are already programmed for distribution to
vulnerable groups. That is the quantity needed to carry
Niger over from one harvest to another, even when the
previous harvest was good. Niger will need at least an extra
52,000 mt of food to meet the increased need caused mainly by
rising world food prices.

3. (U) The quantity of food aid needed for next year will
depend on the fall harvest. Even if the harvest is good,
Niger will need 68,000 mt to replenish its stocks, plus
52,000 mt to assist the additional groups at risk due to
higher world food prices. If next fall's harvest is poor,
the additional food aid needed could be at least 70,000 mt.

4. (SBU) Comment: There is confusion within the GON over the
severity of the food crises. Communications Minister and GON
spokesman Ben Omar recently said in Paris that Niger has
150,000 mt of food in reserve and is well positioned to
handle rising food prices. Donors who follow the food
situation closely have no idea where Ben Omar came up with
the 150,000 figure, which is over two times larger than
actual stocks. The food unit in the PM's office estimates
that Niger could actually need up to 250,000 mt of food to
cover the gap between now and the next harvest. The
reluctance of senior GON leadership to acknowledge the
severity of the food crisis may pose problems to donor
efforts to respond to the situation.

ALLEN

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