Cablegate: Wfp Emergency Appeal for Kenya

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. Summary. WFP is soliciting contributions for its
new emergency operation (EMOP), "Food Assistance to
Drought-affected People in Kenya," covering the
period from August 1, 2004 through January 31, 2005.
The estimated cost of $42.9 million would provide
166,000 metric tons of commodities for 2.3 million
beneficiaries. In addition to a drought that is
causing maize shortages, Kenya is contending with
outbreaks of aflatoxin, a naturally occurring
mycotoxin found in drought-stricken grains, and
potential complications surrounding its policies on
genetically modified food. End summary.

Drought-induced Maize Shortages

2. WFP's emergency appeal is largely attributable to
the failure of the "short rains" from October
through December 2003 and the erratic "long rains"
from March through May 2004. In most of the Coast
and Eastern provinces, approximately 80 to 95
percent of the maize crop has wilted completely.
June 2004 maize prices were 50 to 80 percent higher
than the average during the last drought from 1999
through 2002. On July 14, 2004, President Kibaki
declared a national emergency and appealed for
international assistance.

3. WFP's emergency appeal is being coordinated
closely with the GOK. During the period from
January to June 2004, the GOK has provided a total
of 31,134 MT of commodities to drought-affected
populations. The magnitude of the current emergency
means that GOK resources are insufficient by
thmselves to meet relief needs. Accordingly, with
WFP, the Ministry of Education, Science and
Techology (MOEST) will coordinate food distribution
ad carry out monitoring and reporting of the school
feeding programs. Note: GOK was very concerned
about the reduction in US McGovern-Dole funding, ut
fortunately, additional donors have been idenified.
End note.

4. A short rains assessment wll be conducted in
December 2004 to determine whther continued
emergency relief assistance is neessary. Following
the assessment, WFP will redue rations in some
areas, general food distributin will be shifted to
food-for-work, and other ares phased out under the
EMOP altogether.

Recent Aflatoxin Outbreaks

5. As of June 22, 204, 275 cases and 112 deaths
have occurred from resumed aflatoxin poisoning and
contaminated maiz in Kenya's Eastern and Central
Provinces, accoring to a joint report issued by the
Kenya Ministy of Health, the US Centers for Disease
Control nd Prevention, US Foreign Agricultural
Service, nd US Food and Drug Administration on July
5, 200.

6. Earlier preliminary data in June and earlyJuly
led field team representatives to conduct asurvey
of maize products from agricultural markes and
outlets affected by aflatoxin.

7. Surve results indicate that there is widespread
aflatoin contamination of maize distributed and
sold i both Machakos and Thika Districts. In the
Makuni District 65 percent of the samples had
levelsof aflatoxin above 20 parts per billion, the
uppr limit accepted under Kenyan standards.

8. According to the joint report, further studies
will be necessary to determine the source of
contaminated maize. In addition, without immediate
replacement of available maize with clean food, the

aflatoxin outbreak, one of the largest ever reported
in the world, is expected to continue. The logistic
capacity to deal with the provision of maize and
destruction of current stock is not in place.

Potential Complications Over Biotech Food

9. USUN Rome has been informed by WFP that, although
the official position of the GOK is negative
regarding biotech food, WFP has been assured by
highly placed representatives of the GOK that no
questions will be raised on food aid imported for
the emergency drought operation.

Comments from Ambassador Hall

10. WFP's emergency appeal deserves serious
consideration. We welcome the cooperation between WFP
and the GOK, particularly in these times when Kenya faces
serious food-related difficulties. Temporary emergency
food aid can help stabilize the lives and livelihoods of
2.3 million of Kenya's most vulnerable people. Hall

2004ROME02967 - Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

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