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Cablegate: World Food Programme Zimbabwe Status Update

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 HARARE 002622

SIPDIS

USAID/W FOR DCHA/OFDA FOR HAJJAR, KHANDAGLE AND MARX
DCHA/FFP FOR LANDIS, BRAUSE, SKORIC AND PETERSEN
AFR/SA FOR POE AND COPSON
AFR/SD FOR ISALROW AND WHELAN
STATE FOR AF/S DELISI AND RAYNOR
NAIROBI FOR DCHA/OFDA/ARO FOR RILEY, MYER AND SMITH
REDSO/ESA/FFP FOR SENYKOFF
GENEVA PLEASE PASS TO UNOCHA, IFRC
PRETORIA FOR USAID/DCHA/FFP FOR DISKIN
DCHA/OFDA FOR BRYAN AND FAS FOR HELM
ROME PLEASE PASS TO FODAG

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREL US ZI
SUBJECT: WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME ZIMBABWE STATUS UPDATE


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

1. During October 2002, the World Food Programme (WFP)
distributed 22,495 metric tons (MT) of food commodities,
falling short of its planned distribution of 33,060 MT.
Nevertheless, because of increased food insecurity in
Zimbabwe, WFP is expanding its targeted number of
beneficiaries from 1.9 million to 5.8 million, and the
number of districts covered from 25 to 57. Due to
insufficient resources to meet this increased need, WFP
is projecting a shortfall of 167,169 MT food commodities
between November 2002 and the end of March 2003. There
is currently 61,000 MT of U.S.-donated maize for Zimbabwe
in or arriving at ports in southern Africa. Lack of
sufficient authorized capacity to mill U.S.-donated maize
into maize meal is severely delaying shipment into
Zimbabwe and will further compound WFP resource
constraints. WFP Country Director doubts that a
negotiated swap of 17,500 MT maize with the Government of
Zimbabwe's Grain Marketing Board will take place. END
SUMMARY.

-------------------------------------------
OCTOBER DISTRIBUTION FALLS SHORT OF TARGET
-------------------------------------------

2. During October 2002, WFP and its implementing
partners (IPs) distributed a total of 22,495 MT food
commodities for 1.5 million beneficiaries in 25 of
Zimbabwe's 57 districts. This total consisted of 21,537
MT maize, 144 MT vegetable oil, 747 MT beans, and 67 MT
corn-soy blend (CSB). The distribution fell short of
WFP's target of 33,060 MT and 1.9 million beneficiaries
because of a fragile pipeline and continued problems with
the importation of biotech maize. The cumulative total
of food aid distributed between April and October is
78,271 MT.

--------------------------------------------- --
WFP TO EXPAND DISTRIBUTION TO ALL 57 DISTRICTS
--------------------------------------------- --

3. Through October 2002, WFP had been targeting the 25
districts that had been hardest hit by the food security
crisis. WFP's original Southern Africa Region (SAR)
Emergency Operation (EMOP) 10200.0 called for
distribution to 3.9 million beneficiaries. To date, due
to capacity and resource constraints, WFP has been unable
to meet this target. Nevertheless, in response to the
projected increase in food insecurity that was detailed
in the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee's
(VAC) Emergency Food Security Assessment Report (dated
September 16, 2002), WFP intends to expand the number of
beneficiaries and districts that it is targeting in
Zimbabwe over the coming months. During November, WFP
plans to target 36 districts and 3.0 million
beneficiaries. The December target is 44 districts and
4.5 million beneficiaries. The January (2003) target is
for all 57 districts and 5.5 million beneficiaries.
February and March targets are 57 districts and 5.8
million beneficiaries. NOTE: The difference between
WFP's planned 5.8 million beneficiaries and the VAC
report's estimated 6.7 million eligible Zimbabweans is
expected to be covered by USAID's new parallel NGO
pipeline (termed C-SAFE) and other lesser bilateral
activities. END NOTE.

4. Currently there are ten national and international
private voluntary organizations (PVOs) with agreements to
work as Implementing Partners (IPs)of WFP. The PVOs are
working/will work in the following districts:
CARE: Gweru, Chirumanzu, Gutu, Bikita, Zaka, Masvingo,
Chivi, Zvishavane, Mberengwa, Mwenezi.
CHRISTIAN CARE: Kariba, Guruve, Muzarabani, Rushinga,
Shamva, Bindura, Mazowe, Zvimba, Buhera, Chimanimani,
Chipinge.
CONCERN: Nyanga, Kwekwe, Gokwe.
CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES: Makonde, Chegutu, Kadoma.
GOAL: Hurungwe, Makoni.
HELP AGE ZIMBABWE: Nkayi.
LUTHERAN DEVELOPMENT SERVICES: Shurugwi.
ORAP: Hwange, Tsholotsho, Umzingwane, Insiza.
PLAN INTERNATIONAL: Mutasa, Mutare.
WORLD VISION: Mount Darwin, Mudzi, Mutoko, Murehwa,
Goromonzi, Marondera, Chitungwiza Seke, Wedza, Chikomba,
Chiredzi, Beitbridge, Gwanda, Matobo, Bulilimamangwe,
Bulawayo, Bubi, Lupane, UMP.

5. NOTES: (1) The more recently approved IPs, such as
CONCERN, GOAL and CRS, will only commence distributions
in their respective assigned districts in November and
December. (2) While World Vision (WV) is an IP of WFP,
their activities in Beitbridge and Bulilimamangwe
Districts are being resourced through a USAID bilateral
Title II program. (3) To date, the Government of
Zimbabwe (GOZ) has prohibited Save the Children
Federation/UK (SCF-UK) from working as an IP of WFP in
Zimbabwe. Following extensive negotiation with the GOZ,
SCF-UK has finally received formal GOZ approval to resume
bilateral food distributions in the Binga District,
however, not as an IP of WFP. SCF-UK food distributions
in Binga are expected to begin this week. (4) The Mission
received notification this week that Action Against
Hunger and the German NGO HELP had also received GOZ
approval to participate in WFP program operations in
Zimbabwe, bringing the new total number of approved WFP
NGO IPs to 12 (plus SCF-UK's bilateral program in Binga
noted above).

--------------------------------------------- -
WFP HAS INSUFFICIENT RESOURCES TO MEET NEEDS
--------------------------------------------- -

6. Even though WFP is planning to expand the number of
beneficiaries and districts covered by its operations, it
does not have sufficient resource commitments to meet the
projected needs. For example, CD Farrell noted that WFP
currently has only 16,000 MT of commodities in Zimbabwe,
less than one month's supply. As a result, WFP is
projecting a shortfall of 167,169 MT of food commodities
between November 2002 and the end of March 2003. The
total shortfall consists of 88,003 MT cereals, 22,429 MT
pulses, 4,775 MT vegetable oil, and 51,962 MT corn-soy
blend (CSB). The projected monthly shortfall of cereals
is as follows (in MT): November - 2,644; December -
27,350; January (2003) - 22,450; February - 21,862; and
March - 13,697. Under these circumstances, Kevin
Farrell, Country Director (CD) of WFP's operations in
Zimbabwe, admits that WFP's expanded beneficiary numbers
noted above are "ambitious targets", considering the
current import delays and resource constraints.

7. To date, WFP's Southern Africa Region (SAR) Emergency
Operation (EMOP) 10200.0 for Zimbabwe has been 48.8
percent resourced, receiving USD 111,952,689 of a
requested USD 229,390,598. NOTE: This cumulative total
represents a corresponding 250,603 MT of food, or 55% of
the total requested 452,955 MT of commodities. END NOTE.
The United States is the largest single donor to EMOP
10200.0, having contributed USD 46,700,000 (or 108,864
MT), equal to 20.4 percent of the EMOP and 41.7 percent
of the total contributions to date (as of October 28,
2002). EMOP 10200.0 covers the nine-month period July 1,
2002 to March 31, 2003.

8. Based on received and planned imports, WFP currently
projects Zimbabwe's cereal gap until the next harvest to
be about the same as that presented in the September VAC
report - 370,000 MT. Significantly, this figure is based
upon 498,000 MT of GOZ imports already received, and
465,000 MT of additional planned GOZ imports,
approximately 370,000 MT of which has been confirmed as
"contracted" by the GOZ to date. NOTE: Although
contracted, most knowledgeable observers remain skeptical
that all of these additional GOZ imports will actually
materialize, given the parlous state of the government's
finances. END NOTE. This projected gap also presupposes
195,000 MT of additional WFP imports, plus 62,000 MT of
additional food imports from USAID's C-SAFE and other
complementary/parallel pipeline sources.

--------------------------------
LACK OF MILLING CAPACITY CAUSES
U.S. MAIZE TO SIT IN PORTS
--------------------------------

9. Currently, large quantities of U.S.-donated
commodities for the southern Africa region remain in
regional ports. Some 37,893 MT U.S.-donated maize
designated for Zimbabwe sits in the ports of Maputo,
Mozambique and Durban, South Africa. Another 23,000 MT
maize for Zimbabwe is currently arriving in port aboard
the Liberty Sun, bring the total to about 61,000 MT.
Because of concerns over the biotech issue, this maize
must be milled into maize meal and labeled before it can
be distributed to beneficiaries in Zimbabwe. In order
for the maize to be milled in Zimbabwe, the mill must be
authorized and monitored by the GOZ's Biosafety Board.
To date, only National Food's Bulawayo mill, which has
the capacity to mill up to 12,000 MT per month, has
received authorization to perform this work. WFP
estimates that Zimbabwean mills have the capacity to mill
at least 50,000 MT per month. The lack of sufficient
authorized milling capacity in Zimbabwe is severely
limiting WFP's ability to meet the needs of its program.
WFP has appealed to the GOZ to expand the list of
authorized millers to include sites in Harare and Gweru.

10. In a monthly donors' meeting in Harare on November
13, 2002, WFP CD Farrell reported that of 13,000 MT U.S.
maize delivered to the Bulawayo mill, some 8,000 MT had
already been milled. He also reported that WFP had
visited the mills in South Africa where the Government of
South Africa had agreed to mill 60,000 MT of U.S. maize
donated to the regional EMOP 10200.0. At this time, it
is not clear when the South African milling-donation will
take place.

11. Although secondary transport (to mid-stream and final
distribution points) is not yet a major problem, CD
Farrell noted that fuel shortages are becoming an
increasing constraint. An additional constraint is
inadequate storage facilities, with commodities stored in
open air warehouses and tents subject to more rapid
deterioration from the elements. On a more positive
note, he noted that the average waiting time for customs
clearance at the major Beitbridge border post had been
reduced from 3 days to 26 hours.

-----------------------------------------
WFP CD DOUBTS MAIZE SWAP WILL TAKE PLACE
-----------------------------------------

12. WFP CD Farrell also reported that he did not believe
that the planned swap of 17,500 MT of U.S. maize with the
GOZ's Grain Marketing Board (GMB) was likely to take
place. Under the terms of the swap agreement, the GMB
would give 17,500 MT of non-biotech maize in exchange for
the U.S.-donated maize. WFP would then distribute the
whole-kernel maize, while the GMB would mill the U.S.-
donated maize. He reported that he did not think that
the GMB possessed sufficient quantities of maize at this
time to effect this swap. Until this swap agreement is
carried out or terminated, WFP must continue to warehouse
the 17,500 MT maize at port in readiness should the swap
move forward.

--------
COMMENT
--------

13. At the monthly briefing, WFP CD Farrell's
presentation was a valiant effort to put a positive spin
on an increasingly difficult country situation. While
progress continues on NGO IP approvals, and increased
geographic coverage and the numbers of beneficiaries
reached, these positive developments mask a fundamentally
fragile pipeline exacerbated considerably by import and
distribution bottlenecks associated with the biotech
issue. Until and unless these issues are fully resolved,
WFP's efforts to meet expanding needs in Zimbabwe will
continue to suffer from significant resource constraints.
Efforts continue to resolve these issues to final
satisfaction with the GOZ, so that the program may
proceed to meet its expanded targets over the coming
critical months before the next harvest. SULLIVAN

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