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Cablegate: Ethiopia Food Security Visit: Fao Projects

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

UNCLAS ROME 002395

SIPDIS


FROM U.S. MISSION TO THE UN AGENCIES IN ROME

STATE FOR E, EB/IFD/ODA, IO, IO/EDA, AF/EPS, AF/E
TREASURY FOR OSDI - JASKOWIAK, BLOOMGARDEN, BRUBAKER
USAID FOR ADMINISTRATOR NATSIOS, D/A SCHIECK,
AA/DCHA WINTER, AA/AFR BROWN, DCHA/D/FFP LANDIS,
OFDA HALMRAST-SANCHEZ, AA/GLOBAL PETERSON
USDA/FNCS FOR U/S BOST, FAS FOR U/S PENN AND CHAMBLISS
ADDIS ABABA FOR AMBASSADOR AND USAID DIRECTOR
NAIROBI FOR FAS KESSLER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR EFIN EAID AORC ET FAO
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA FOOD SECURITY VISIT: FAO PROJECTS
OBSERVED

REF: ROME 1496

1. Summary: During an 8-day trip to examine food
insecurity in Ethiopia, members of a delegation led by
Ambassador Tony P. Hall made field visits to two projects
funded by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):
(1) a vegetable seed distribution site in Shebedino Woreda,
Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's Region (SNNPR),
and (2) a Telefood project to improve vegetable production
at Birueh Tesfa Farmer's Association, Akaki, Addis Ababa
Region. These activities appeared successful and helpful to
the local target populations in improving their food
security. The projects represent only a small sample of
FAO's overall portfolio in Ethiopia, which includes ongoing
projects valued at nearly $3 million from regular program
funds and over $20 million from voluntary donor
contributions. Active projects include livestock
improvement, surveillance of animal diseases, improved
animal vaccines, assessment and control of land degradation,
and improved pesticide management. FAO's current activities
in the country emphasize longer-term, sustainable
development. The organization also has provided, in 2003
alone, over $4 million in emergency assistance in the form
of seeds and other agricultural inputs and services. FAO
would be more effective in Ethiopia if it were to make a
greater effort to send its very best professionals, to focus
its activities in its areas of strength, and to reach out to
the private sector and NGOs. End summary.

2. This is one of several reports on the April 12-19 visit
of a delegation led by Ambassador Tony P. Hall (U.S. Mission
to the UN Agencies in Rome) to observe, document and raise
awareness of food insecurity issues in Ethiopia and the role
of UN agencies and other partners in addressing these
issues. See reftel for trip overview. This report covers
the FAO projects visited. The full delegation visited a
site near Leku, Shebedino -- located 20 km south of Awasa --
on April 14. One delegation member (Willem Brakel,
Alternate Permanent Representative, U.S. Mission Rome) made
a separate visit on April 16 to an FAO-supported project
located 23 km SSE of Addis Ababa.

BACKGROUND: FAO IN ETHIOPIA
---------------------------

3. Under its Technical Cooperation Program (TCP), which is
funded out of the organization's regular program budget, FAO
currently has ten projects operational in Ethiopia, totaling
$2.843 million. (This figure and the breakdown below are
from an FAO "Agency Profile" on Ethiopia dated 3 March
2004.) Current TCP projects include:

-- urgent provision of seeds for drought-affected areas of
Oromia and Amhara regions ($773,000);

-- capacity building in the livestock sector ($422,000);

-- surveillance of Rift Valley fever and other vector-borne
animal diseases with trade implications ($292,000);

-- promotion of cactus pear production and use ($334,000);

-- support for pastoral communities in the Afar and Somali
regions ($341,000);

-- improving livestock and poultry vaccine technology
($374,000); and

-- establishing disease-fee livestock zones ($200,000).

4. FAO has another four TCP projects in the pipeline,
totaling $1.37 million, having to do with:

-- African economic integration and food security (nearly


$298,000);

-- sustainable livelihoods for disabled young people
($335,000);

-- community-based integrated watershed development
($372,000); and

-- strengthening capacity for land degradation assessment
and desertification control ($365,000).

5. There are $20.48 million in FAO Trust Fund projects
currently operational. These are projects supported by
voluntary contributions from bilateral donors and executed
by the federal Ministry of Agriculture and (in some cases)
regional authorities. Major ongoing Trust Fund activities
include:

-- developing an effective pesticide management system and
disposal of obsolete pesticides ($9.2 million from Belgium,
Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Japan and U.S.);

-- improving nutrition and food security in Tigray and
Amhara regions ($4.2 million from Belgium);

-- strengthening the seed supply system at the local level
($1.5 million from Norway);

-- supporting livestock exports ($1.5 million from Italy);

-- provision of seeds in drought-affected areas ($3.4
million from the Netherlands and Canada) [the Shebedino
project described in para 8 falls within this category];
and

-- coordination of emergency agricultural relief and
rehabilitation activities ($119,000 from U.S.).

6. There is also an FAO regional Trust Fund project for
water resource management in the Nile Basin countries ($5.25
million in total) that includes an Ethiopian component.
Under the FAO/UNDP Cooperative Program there are ongoing
projects valued at $926,000 for development of national
agricultural information systems, urgent relief and recovery
assistance for drought-affected farmers and pastoralists,
and coordination of livestock relief and recovery
activities. An Italian-funded project under FAO's Special
Program for Food Security (SPFS) promotes South-South
cooperation on small-scale irrigation schemes.

7. Finally, since 2001, FAO has managed or is managing 13
small, community-based Telefood mini-projects (under $10,000
each) linked to World Food Day public outreach activities,
with three additional mini-projects awaiting approval. [The
Birueh Tesfa scheme described in para 10-11 is a Telefood
project.]

SHEBEDINO SEED DISTRIBUTION SITE
--------------------------------

8. In its visit to Leku, Shebedino, the delegation was
accompanied by George Mburathi (FAO Representative in
Ethiopia to the African Union and Economic Commission for
Africa), Daniele Donati (Africa Emergency Coordinator, FAO
Nairobi), Alex Jones (Emergency Operations Officer, FAO
Rome), Luciano Mosele (Emergency Coordinator, FAO Ethiopia).
It was explained that the aim of this 1-year project has
been to assist 2,364 Shebedino farming households in using
their land more efficiently by practicing mixed farming,
improving the quality of their diet, and recovering rapidly
from the 2002 drought. Some 88.4 MT of cereal seeds and 164
kg of vegetable seeds were provided to the farmers, who were
actively involved in the design and implementation of the
project. It was estimated that the seed assistance


contributed to the production of 1,1416 MT of grains, and on
average contributed to household food needs for 4-7 months.

9. Stakeholders explained that development agents and
farmers are currently being trained in order to improve crop
cultivation, post-harvest management and pest control.
According to a recent impact assessment, 47% of households
covered by the project have become self-sufficient for the
year 2004. Delegation members were impressed by the lush
appearance of the site and the diversity of vegetables under
cultivation, but were reminded that the intensive land use
and high population densities that exist in this area can
easily result in "green famine" conditions, where
malnutrition and hunger occur despite the verdant
surroundings.

BIRUEH TESFA FARMERS' ASSOCIATION
---------------------------------

10. The 64-member Birihue Tesfa Farmers' Association,
located 3 km SW of the town of Akaki, was visited by one
delegation member (Alternate Permanent Representative, U.S.
Mission Rome) on April 16, accompanied by FAO's Luciano
Mosele. Members of the association, established in 1989,
produce cereal (under rain) and vegetable crops (under
irrigation) on 47 hectares of land. Actual cultivation is
carried out on an individual basis, with each household
holding up to 0.6 hectares. A shortage of pumps, lack of
appropriate tools and unavailability of high-quality
vegetable seeds have limited farmers' productivity. With a
$10,000 grant from the Telefood program, major improvements
were possible. The area under irrigation was extended,
dykes were built to control flooding, and necessary inputs
were provided, together with training and technical
assistance.

11. It was explained that many association members were
internally displaced persons (IDPs) forced to relocate from
the northern border area during the war with Eritrea. Some
were town dwellers without strong farming traditions or
skills. With assistance from the FAO project, they have
been able to improve their lot, though they still lack
electricity, ready access to clean water, and a good all-
weather road to move their produce to market. The plows
drawn by twin-oxen teams and donkey carts provided a
picturesque scene, but the farmers said they wanted
tractors.

COMMENT
-------

12. The two projects visited, though only a small sample of
ongoing FAO activities in Ethiopia, provided an illustration
of the benefits the organization has been able to provide to
targeted small farmers. Overall funding for FAO projects is
modest compared to the value of food aid donated to Ethiopia
in 2002 and 2003, but the impact of these projects is
greater than the dollar figures imply, given their focus on
capacity building and long-term sustainable development.

13. Notwithstanding our generally favorable impression of
the projects visited, U.S. Mission Rome believes that FAO
could and should be more effective in Ethiopia, given the
number of lives and livelihoods at stake and the magnitude
of the agricultural development challenges there. This
requires strong, hands-on, field-oriented leadership at the
helm of FAO's Permanent Representation in Addis Ababa, and a
long-term commitment on the part of the organization to send
to Ethiopia its best and brightest. FAO should do more to
prioritize and focus its efforts in its areas of strength,
rather than trying to be the "shadow" Ministry of
Agriculture. Livestock and animal diseases may be an area
of comparative advantage. Finally, we believe FAO could do
more to reach out and cooperate with the private sector and


NGO community.

Hall


NNNN
2004ROME02395 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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