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Cablegate: Nigeria: Food for Progress Proposal

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

231946Z May 03

UNCLAS ABUJA 000943

SIPDIS


USDA FAS WASHDC FOR RON CROUSHORN EXPORT CREDITS
FAA/AME/PHOFFMAN


FROM AMBASSADOR JETER AND AGATTACHE, LAGOS


E.O. 12958, N/A
TAGS: EAGR EAID PREL NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA: FOOD FOR PROGRESS PROPOSAL


REF: TOFAS 013 DATED AUGUST 22, 2002


1. Action Request; Para two


2. The American Embassy in Nigeria requests
Washington reconsideration of our proposed government-
to-government "Food for Progress" activity. This
proposal, presented by President Olusegun Obasanjo,
requests an allocation of 12,500 MT of rice to
implement the Women's Initiative for Sex Education and
Empowerment (WISE) in Nigeria. We believe the sale of
this donated rice will be not only beneficial in terms
of the targeted audience of the WISE project but also
will complement other objectives of our Mission
Program Plan.


3. The Mission has several programs in place that
focus on health. However, due to the very high
incidence of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, as well as the lack
of direct support to vulnerable young women, we
believe this program will be especially beneficial in
central Nigeria. Abuja, Nigeria's new capital city,
for example, has one of the highest incidences of
HIV/AIDS in the country.


4. President Obasanjo has a very keen interest in
this program. On numerous occasions, he has asked me
as well as the AfriCare representative for information
about the status of the proposal.


5. Approval of this program may help provide
Nigeria's private sector as well as the Mission with
leverage in other areas. For example, several rice
processors/importers are currently seeking a five
percent duty on imported paddy rice. However, most of
the rice imported is parboiled rice from India and
Thailand which is subject to a duty of 100 percent.
The U.S. would be able to supply a greater share of
the market if the GON were to agree to support this
private sector proposal for a two-tiered duty for
rice.


6. The GON is increasingly using protectionist
measures such as import bans to support local
agriculture/agro-processing. Realistically, Nigeria
cannot become self-sufficient in most product areas
due to insufficient infrastructure and credit, high
cost of inputs, etc. USG support in the form of
government-to-government food aid, may encourage the
GON to rely on methods to support the agriculture
sector.


7. We understand this proposal was considered under a
competitive process. However, given the Mission's
strong support for this initiative, we hope funding
can be found to move the project forward.


JETER

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