Cablegate: Ngo Agricultural Recovery

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary: US Embassy and USAID/Zimbabwe recommend
OFDA approval of three non-food humanitarian assistance
proposals submitted by CARE, CRS, and World Vision. Post does
not believe that targeted beneficiaries - communal farmers -
should be the primary focus of humanitarian assistance in
Zimbabwe; however, these programs are very small in scope, will
not have a significant policy impact, and can be mobilized
quickly to assist approximately 80,000 deserving families
severely affected by the food crisis in Zimbabwe. Post remains
convinced that the swelling number of IDPs - principally
commercial farm workers and their families displaced by the
chaotic land reform program - should be the major focus of OFDA
recovery programs in Zimbabwe. End Summary.

2. (SBU) The primary USG response to the current complex food
crisis in Zimbabwe has been to provide food for direct
distribution to the most needy people through a major
contribution to the World Food Program relief effort and

through a separate food distribution program with World Vision.
There is general agreement in the donor community that the
current crisis will continue until farmers revive agricultural
production. Current GOZ policies continue to be the major
constraint to that effort. Nonetheless, post believes that a
small agricultural recovery program carefully targeted to the
most vulnerable families in communal areas is worthy of support
and will not adversely affect the broader policy environment.

3. (SBU) Three US NGOs have submitted proposals to develop
agricultural recovery programs in support of the USG effort to
respond to the complex food crisis in Zimbabwe: CARE, Catholic
Relief Services (CRS), and World Vision International (WVI).
The combined programs would provide seed inputs for
approximately 80,000 established communal area farmers that are
the most destitute and who are be expected to benefit the least
from any government assistance. They will be coordinated with
both existing and proposed food distribution and feeding
programs. The programs will provide inputs to allow for
agriculture production at a subsistence level for the most
vulnerable families in the communal areas (e.g., women and
child-headed households, families affected by chronic illness).

4. (SBU) Seeds will consist of locally purchased, drought-
tolerant packages of maize, sorghum, millet, cowpeas and black-
eyed-beans, where/as appropriate. The duration of each
program would be approximately 6 months. The US NGOs would
target established communal area farmers who have the
capability to farm, but no finances; women or child-headed
households; families severely affected from chronic illness
(e.g., HIV/AIDS, TB, cancer); the elderly and disabled; and
those who lost their crops in 2002. All beneficiaries would
have to have access to land and be able to farm to be
considered for the program.

5. (SBU) Each of the US NGOs would work in districts where they
currently have programs operating. These would include
districts in the provinces of Matabeleland South, Matabeleland
North, Masvingo, and Midlands.

6. (SBU) The proposed OFDA contribution would be: CARE
US$600,000; CRS US$1,100,000 (includes US$500,000 for
health/feeding interventions for approximately 150,000 people);
and WVI US$500,000.

7. (SBU) Post believes that any agricultural recovery program
must take into consideration how much can be accomplished in
the current environment of counterproductive macroeconomic and
agriculture sector policies. Post also believes that an
agricultural recovery program could operate to shield the GOZ
from the harsh effects of its bad policies and, therefore,
provide a disincentive for the GOZ to fix the underlying causes
of low agricultural production.

8. (SBU) Even taking these concerns into consideration,
however, post recommends that this small-scale intervention be
approved. These programs are targeted at providing subsistence-
level production for the most vulnerable families, and will not
work with farmers whose activities have an impact on overall
agricultural production levels. Also, because it is modest in
scale, the intervention is not expected to have an impact -
positive or negative - on the economic policy environment in
the agriculture sector, which impedes increased agricultural
production. Nonetheless, these small-scale programs will
mitigate the humanitarian crisis by reducing the number of
vulnerable people next season who require emergency food

9. (SBU) Finally, post continues to be concerned about the
situation of internally displaced persons (IDPs), who are
primarily displaced black farm workers. IDPs have suffered
directly from the GOZ's fast-track land resettlement program
and do not typically have communal structures in place to
support them, as do farmers residing in communal areas. It is
also estimated that the number of IDPs could reach nearly 2
million people by the end of the year. For these reasons, post
believes that the IDP situation should be the highest priority
for humanitarian resources as the next step in USG assistance.
During his July 21-23 visit to Zimbabwe, USAID Assistant
Administrator/DCHA Roger Winter indicated that USAID/Washington
would discuss the IDP issue with UN/OCHA and encourage OCHA to
urgently develop a program to respond to their plight. Post
recommends that USAID/Washington continue these discussions and
advise post on progress. SULLIVAN

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