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Cablegate: Ethiopia - Usg/Hat - Meeting with Wfp

O 011256Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1150
INFO AMEMBASSY ASMARA
AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS
USMISSION GENEVA
AMEMBASSY LONDON
AMEMBASSY ROME
USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
DEPT OF INTERIOR WASHDC
DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL//CCJ2/CCJ5/CCJS//
DIA WASHDC
CJTF HOA
NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 001787

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, LKELLEY, KNELSON, CTHOMPSON, BDUNFORD
DCHA/AA MHESS, GGOTTLIEB
DCHA/OFDA KLUU, ACONVERY, CCHAN, PMORRIS, KCHANNELL
DCHA/FFP JBORNS, 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 JMYER, GPLATT, RFFPO NCOX, USAID/EA
ROME FOR AMBASSADOR, OHA, HSPANOS
BRUSSELS FOR USEU PBROWN
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH, RMA
USUN FOR TMALY
NSC FOR PMARCHAN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PHUM SENV EAGR PGOV ET
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA - USG/HAT - MEETING WITH WFP

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

1. Senior World Food Program (WFP) officials - the Country Director
for Ethiopia and the Chief of the Logistics Division in Rome -
briefed USAID officials Friday June 27 on the current transport
situation and its capacity to meet food aid imports over the coming
months. There is little capacity to spare at the Port of Djibouti,
especially on the storage side. But if incoming food aid shipments
are managed efficiently, WFP believes that there is the offloading
and trucking capacity to keep resources flowing smoothly. This will
require coordination on the part of all importers of food aid and
commercial goods. WFP also emphasized that its worldwide shipping
was operating at full capacity, meaning that - contrary to the
situation a few years ago - there is almost no WFP "floating
inventory" to divert for borrowing given the limited grain in the
Ethiopia Food Security Reserve (EFSRA). End Summary.

----------------------
DJIBOUTI PORT UPDATE
----------------------

2. Senior WFP logistics officials visited the Port of Djibouti
during the week, to assess port capacity to handle the food aid
shipments scheduled to arrive in the coming months. Under review
were port offloading and storage facilities. WFP also reviewed the
requirements and capacity to maintain a steady stream of trucks
between the port and the several Ethiopian hubs where food is
offloaded and then transshipped, according to DPPA (Disaster
Preparedness and Prevention Agency) dispatch schedules.

3. Fertilizer imports normally occur between October and April, when
they can amount to 400,000 MTs. However, the coming three months
will be free from competition for berthing space by fertilizer
imports. Three berths at the port are capable of handling the food
aid cargo scheduled to arrive between now and the end of September.
NOTE: In a prior meeting to discuss port capacity, WFP explained
that the current bulk cereals discharge capacity at the Port of
Djibouti is 120 - 150,000 metric tons (MTs) per month. If
additional capacity is required in the coming three months, this can
be augmented by 110,000 MTs through the use of conventional cranes
and - once cleaned and inspected -- facilities normally used for
fertilizer imports. This total, augmented capacity meets and
exceeds all anticipated food aid imports for the coming months.

4. WFP emphasized the importance of coordinating the "upstream
pipeline" - starting in October - to mesh food arrivals with
commercial imports, to avoid competing for the same overland
transporters. One concern was that NGO food aid shipment schedules
are now an unknown. WFP requested that call forwards for NGO
requirements not be made on a "through-shipment" basis, instead
suggesting that WFP be the overland transport agent for NGO food
commodities between the port and major hubs. WFP would be prepared
to undertake the overland transport, based on the actual transport
cost to each hub, plus a 4.5 percent administrative fee
(headquarters) and $2.50/MT to cover local administrative costs. WFP
said there are about 5,000 long haul trucks operating between
Djibouti to Ethiopia. The agency is contracting 1,800 from 21
different transporters and does not foresee problems with truck
availability at this time.

5. WFP met recently with the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport to
re-activate a coordination mechanism crucial to ensuring that
everyone is aware of the schedule of incoming commodities purchased
by the public and private sectors. Close coordination is required
to avoid "commandeering" of transport assets at the last moment,
something which has occurred in the past. WFP/Ethiopia's logistics
head will ensure that there is regular coordination with Government
officials (DPPA, Ministry of Transport, Customs) and WFP and USAID.
NOTE: WFP will also hold a logistics coordination meeting this
Thursday, to be attended by USAID as well as UN agencies and NGOs.
Eventually, a decision will be made whether to set up a formal
Logistics Cluster (co-chaired by the Government and WFP) or to keep
the coordination mechanism less formal.

-----------------------------
INLAND TRANSPORT CHALLENGES
-----------------------------

6. Government capacity to manage the inland transport (dispatches,
distributions, and final deliveries) has already proven inadequate.
Word about town is that the DPPA - as of this week - is to become
the Early Warning and Response Department of the Ministry of
Agriculture and Rural Development. If this occurs precipitously, it
is likely that more serious management issues will occur, just when
the relief beneficiary caseload is increasing. At the same time,
the situation in the Somali region is deteriorating and likely to
become an even more serious emergency (septel). Anticipating the
possibility that WFP would have to step in and be more directly
involved in food deliveries, USAID inquired if WFP was developing
contingency plans to augment their own, and possibly government,
capacity. WFP indicated that internal discussions were underway and
that USAID/OFDA (and other donors) might be approached for funding
of emergency logistics augmentation. NOTE: In a follow-up phone
call, WFP indicated that this plan is being worked on and will be
shared with USAID soon - likely this week.

-----------------
PIPELINE FRAGILE
-----------------

7. The meeting ended with a general discussion of the resources
required to meet both the safety net and the relief caseloads over
the coming months. Despite ongoing USAID efforts to obtain
additional (for example, supplemental) resources in the near term,
WFP repeatedly emphasized that "the existing 340,000 MTs relief
pipeline gap in 2008 represented a huge red flag," and that more
food was required. The actual gap for WFP portion of the relief
effort, reported in the June 26 WFP external bulletin, is 259,000
metric tons. There is practically no borrowing possible from the
EFSRA because more than two-thirds of the grain stocks were allowed
to be borrowed by the Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise (EGTE)
without reimbursement requirement. What little borrowing capacity
exists has been programmed tightly to cover about half the needs
during July and August. WFP emphasized that food aid arrivals in
port during the first half of one month, say August, would not be
distributed to beneficiaries until the following month (September),
and that arrivals the second half of any given month would not be
distributed until yet another month (e.g., October with a late
August arrival). The bottom line -- emphasized by both the Country
Director and international Logistics Head -- was a desperate need
for more food as soon as possible.

8. USAID/Ethiopia is following with Food for Peace, to ascertain
what additional resources can be set aside for Ethiopia.

YAMAMOTO

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