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Cablegate: Humanitarian Situation in Zimbabwe -

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 002060

SIPDIS

AID FOR DCHA/FFP LANDIS, CRUMBLY, MUTAMBA,
PETERSEN
DCHA/OFDA FOR PRATT, AUSTRENG, KHANDAGLE, MENGH
ETTI, BORNS, MARX, HALMRAST-SANCHEZ
AFR/SA FOR FLEURET, LOKEN, COPSON, MACNAIRN
EGAT FOR HOBGOOD, THOMPSON
STATE/AF FOR RAYNOR
PRETORIA FOR, DISKIN, HALE, SINK, REYNOLDS
NAIROBI FOR SMITH, BROWN
LILONGWE FOR RUBEY
LUSAKA FOR GUNTHER, NIELSON
MAPUTO FOR POLAND, BLISS, THOMPSON
MASERU FOR AMB LOFTIS
MBABANE FOR KENNA
GABORONE FOR CASHION, BROWN
ROME FOR FODAG FOR GAST
STATE/AF FOR NEULING

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: EAID PREL US ZI
SUBJECT: HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE -
USAID/OFDA FIELD VISIT TO ASSESS
Assessment of AGRICULTURE INTERVENTIONS AND THE ON-
GOING AGRICULTURE SEASON

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

1. AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY ADVISORS FROM
USAID/OFDA/PRETORIA AND USAID/OFDA/W VISITED
ZIMBABWE FROM OCTOBER 23 - 29, 2004 TO MONITOR
USAID/OFDA- FUNDED ACTIVITIES AND TO INVESTIGATE
THE CURRENT AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY
SITUATION IN COUNTRY.

2. BASED ON FIELD VISITS AND CONVERSATIONS WITH
BENEFICIARIES, IT WASIS CLEAR THAT USGTHE
AGRICULTURE INTERVENTIONS HAVE HAD A POSITIVE
EFFECT ON SLOWING THEHOUSEHOLD DECLINE OF
HOUSEHOLDS INTO FOOD INSECURITY AND VULNERABILITY.
NONETHELESS, THE DELINE IS CONTINUING IN AN
INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC
CLIMATE.

-----------------------------
THE CURRENT SITUATION
------------------------------

3. MOST BENEFICIARIES FORECAST A TOTAL DEPLETION
OF PERSONAL FOOD STOCKS BY THE END OF DECEMBER.
WITH THE WIDESPREAD ELIMINATION OF GENERAL FOOD
AID ASSISTANCE, AND SEVERAL MONTHS REMAINING UNTIL
HARVEST BEGINS IN APRIL 2005, THE FOOD SECURITY
SITUATION WILL LIKELY DECLINE IN ALL REGIONS .

4. WEATHER FORECASTS PREDICT NORMAL TO SLIGHTLY
BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION FOR THE RAINY SEASON
WITH SLIGHT REGIONAL VARIATIONS. AS TO WHETHER THE
EARLY OR LATE PART OF THE RAINY SEASON WILL BE
NORMAL.

5. ADDITIONALLY, A GREATER PERCENTAGE OF THE
POPULATION MAY BECOME MOBILE (RURAL TO URBAN
MIGRATION) TO COPE WITH INCREASING VULNERABILITY
AND AS A RESULT OF THE CONTINUING DISSOLVING OF
COMMERCIAL FARMS THROUGH THE GOVERNMENT OF
ZIMBABWE'S (GOZ) LAND REFORM PROGRAM WHICH IS
RESULTING IN AGRICULTURAL LABORERS BEING REMOVED
FROM LARGE FARMS.

-------------
FIELD VISITS
-------------

6. THE USAID/OFDA, USAID/ZIMBABWE TEAM OBSERVED
AGRICULTURAL SUPPORT ACTIVITIES IMPLEMENTED BY
DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATES INCORPORATED (DAI), WORLD
VISION, AFRICARE, AND CARE IN BULAWAYO, GWERU,
SHURUGWI AND MASVINGO AREAS. THE TEAM ALSO VISTED
THE ICRISAT CENTER IN BULAWAYO.

--------------------------
SEED ISSUES
--------------------------

76. NGO'S INVOLVED IN SEED PROCUREMENT AND
DISTRIBUTION ARE FACED WITH A CONTINUALLY CHANGING
AND VAGUE SET OF RULES FOR SEED PURCHASE AND
DISTRIBUTION. GOZTHEY ARE NOW INSTRUCTED THEMBY
GOZ TO IMPORT SEEDS RATHER THAN TO PURCHASE
LOCALLY., AND MAY BE BARRED FROM DISTRIBUTING
CERTAIN LOCALLY-PRODUCED SEED STOCKS EVEN IF SEEDS
WERE PRODUCED THROUGH NGO-IMPLEMENTED LOCAL
MULTIPLICATION SCHEMES. IN MANY DISTRICTS
UNCERTIAINTY SURROUNDEDS THE HOLDING OF SEED FAIRS
BY NGOS BECAUSE OF THE ILL- DEFINED POSITION OF
THE GOVERNMENT IN RELATION TO NGO SEED
DISTRIBUTION IN ANY FORM. EVENTUALLY SOME SEED
FAIRS DID TAKE PLACE. IN MASVINGO, NGOS STILL DO
NOT HAVE THE GO-AHEAD FROM THE GOZ TO START SEED
DISTRIBUTION ACTIVITIES. RECENTLY THE GOZ STARTED
ENFORCING SEED IMPORT CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS
THAT HAD BEEN LOOSELY APPLIED DURING THE PREVIOUS
TWO YEARS. THE SUDDEN STRICT APPLICATIONS OF THE
REGULATIONS CAAME WITHOUT WARNING AND AT A TIME
WHEN MANY NGO'S WEARE READY TO BEGIN DISTRIBUTION.
THIS MAY DELAYED SEED DISTRIBUTION. , THEREBY
FURTHER DELAYING THE PLANTING DATE FOR LOCAL
FARMERS AND REDUCING POTENTIAL YIELDS. THE MAIN
PLANTING SEASON COMES TO AN END IN JANUARY.

87. SEED ACCESS FOR MOST SMALL FARMERS IS LIMITED.
THE GOZ HAS PURCHASED MOST OF THE AVAILABLE MAIZE
SEED IN COUNTRY AND PLANSS TO DISTRIBUTE IT
THROUGH THE GRAIN MARKETING BOARD (GMB) AND THE
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AGENCY
(ARDA)),. WHETHER SEED WILL ACTUALLY REACH THE
MOST VULNERABLE THROUGH THIS PROCESS REMAINS TO BE
SEEN. SOME FARMERS ARE OBTAINING MAIZE IN THIS
MANNER, BUT THE CONDITIONS FOR ACCESSING THE SEED
ARE NOT CLEAR. THE GOZ HAS CONTACTED AT LEAST ONE
NGO TO DISCUSS COLLABORATING ON MAIZE SEED
DISTRIBUTION, BUT THE TERMS OF THIS RELATIONSHIP
REMAIN UNCLEAR.

98. LEGUME SEEDSS ARE IN SHORT SUPPLY WITHIN THE
COUNTRY, ESPECIALLY GROUNDNUTS. STRAPPED WITH LOW
FOOD SUPPLIES, SCHOOL FEE INCREASES AND RAPIDLY
ESCALATING PRICES DUE TO INFLATION, MANY FARMERS
ARE STRUGGLING TO FIND WAYS TO AFFORD OR OBTAIN
SEEDS, FERTILIZER AND DRAUGHT POWER.

1098. THE PLANTING OF CASSAVA AND IMPROVED SWEET
POTATO HAS BEEN ENCOURAGED IN DRY AREAS OF THE
COUNTRY BY THE NGOS AND AREX, THE AG EXTENSION
OFFICE OF ZIMBABWE, AS A MEANS TO HELP FARMERS
SPAN THE HUNGRY SEASON. TRAINING FOR PREPARATION
AND UTILIZATION OF SWEET POTATO AND CASSAVA WAS
WELL RECEIVED BY THE BENEFICIARIES.

-------------------
FIELD VISITS
-------------------

109. THE USAID/OFDA, USAID/ZIMBABWE TEAM OBSERVED
AGRICULTURAL SUPPORT ACTIVITIES IMPLEMENTED BY
DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATES INCORPORATED (DAI), WORLD
VISION, AFRICARE, AND CARE IN BULAWAYOAYO, GWERU,
SHURUGWI AND MASVINGO AREAS. THE TEAM ALSO VISTED
THE ICRISAT CENTER IN BULAWAYO.

110. THE LINKAGES FOR THE ECONOMIC ADVANCEMENT OF
THE DISADVANTAGED (LEAD) ACTIVITY, MANAGED BY DAI,
PROVIDES FOOD INSECURE FAMILIES WITH SIMPLE, LOW-
COST DRIP IRRIGATION KITS AND VEGETABLE SEEDS TO
DEVELOP HOUSEHOLD NUTRITION GARDENS. LEAD HAS
ESTABLISHED 23,355 HOUSEHOLD NUTRITION GARDENS
USING LOW-COST DRIP IRRIGATION IN 53 DISTRICTS OF
ZIMBABWE. IN MATABELAND SOUTH, BENEFICIARIES
INDICATED THAT THE DRIP IRRIGATION HAS ALLOWED
MANY OF THEM TO AFFORD SCHOOL FEES AND HAS
PROVIDED A GREAT SURGE IN DIETARY DIVERSITY AND
NUTRITION. IN MANY OF THE AREAS WITH DRIP
IRRIGATION, FARMERS ARE SELLING THEIR PRODUCE
INDIVIDUALLY ON SITE AND IN LOCAL MARKETS.

121. WORLD VISION INTERNATIONAL (WVI) - WVI IS
ALSO USING SEED DISTRIBUTION AND DRIP IRRIGATION
TO BENEFIT FARMERS. THE MOST VULNERABLE FARMERS
AREARE SCHEDULED TO RECEIVE CUTTINGS OF CASSAVA
AND SWEET POTATO FROM THE FIRST GROUP OF
BENEFICIARIES, ONCE PLANTS FROM THIS ROUND OF
CUTTINGS ARE ESTABLISHED, 7 - 9 MONTHS FROM NOW.
AT THE TIME OF THE VISIT, CONDITIONS IN INSIZA
DISTRICT WERETHIS REGION ARE CURRENTLY EXTREMELY
DRY WITH LITTLE EVIDENCE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF PRE-
RAINY SEASON AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION WITHOUT SMALL
SCALE IRRIGATION (DRIP KITS) OR OTHER MEANS OF
WATERING. SHALLOW WELLS WEARE ALREADY STARTING TO
DRY UP IN MANY AREAS. THE TEAM ALSO VISITED AWVI
ALSO MANAGES AN OFDA-FUNDED CHICKEN AND GOAT
ASSISTANCE PROGRAM TO AID VERY VULNERABLE
HOUSEHOLDHS WITH REDUCED LABOR TO IMPROVE THE
QUALITY OF THEIR DIETS THROUGH INCREASED PROTIEN
AND TO ENHANCE THEIR COPING OPTIONS.

132. AFRICARE - SHURUGWI DISTRICT. AFRICARE IS
CURRENTLY MULTIPLYING OPEN POLLINATED VARIETIES
(OPV) OF MAIZE SEED AND CASSAVA AND SWEET POTATO
CUTTINGS, IN MANY CASES USING DRIP IRRIGATION.
THEY ARE ALSO COORDINATING AGROPROCESSING GROUPS
FOR PRODUCTION OF PEANUT BUTTER AND SUNFLOWER OIL.
ALTHOUGH THE GROUPS ARE NOT SELF SUSTAINING YET,
THEY SHOW GREAT PROMISE AND ALSO PROVIDE AN ADDED
SOURCE OF NUTRITION AND INCOME. THE MOST
VULNERABLE ARE SAID TO BENEFIT THROUGH SHARING OF
20% OF THE AMOUNT OF OIL AND PEANUT BUTTER
PRODUCED.

143. CARE ZIMBABWE - OFDA FUNDING TO CARE ASSISTED
149,000 FARMING HOUSEHOLDS IN THE 10 DISTRICTS OF
MIDLANDS AND MASVINGO PROVINCES. 525 MT OF SUGAR
BEAN AND 75 MT OF GROUNDNUT SEED WERE DISTRIBUTED.
CARE IS MULTIPLIEDYING OPV (OPEN POLLINATED
VARIETY) MAIZE SEED WITH DRIP IRRIGATION IN THE
WINTER MONTHS FOR DEPOSIT AND REDISTRIBUTION
THROUGH A COMMUNITY SEED BANK. THIS INNOVATIVE
APPROACH IS MINIMIZEDING CROSS-POLLINATION
CONTAMINATION OF SEED BY AVOIDING SEED
MULTIPLICATION DURING THE NORMAL MAIZE GROWING
PERIOD.

-----------------------
COMMENTS
-----------------------

154. THE USG EFFORTS HAVE HELPED AMELIORATE FOOD
INSECURITY. THE WIDESPREAD ADOPTION OF DRIP
IRRIGATION KITS IN TARGET AREAS HAS CONTRIBUTED
VEGETABLES FOR HOME CONSUMPTION AND IMPROVED FOOD
SECURITY. HOWEVER, IF THE INTENT IS TO ALLOW
FARMERS TO EARN INCOME THROUGH PRODUCE SALES, THE
DIVERSIFICATION OF PRODUCE, AND INSTRUCTION ON
PROCESSING VEGETABLES AND LEGUMES INTO VALUE ADDED
ITEMS, CSHOULD BE ADDED TO DRIP KIT PROGRAMMING TO
ENHANCE INCOME GENERATION. THIS WOULDILL
FACILITATE HOUSEHOLDS BEING ABLE TO EARN INCOME
FOROM PRODUCE MARKETING IN ADDITION TO THE
NUTRITIONAL AND FOOD SECURITY BENEFITS THEY
ALREADY RECEIVE.

165. HOWEVER, THE SCARCITY OF SEEDS IS HIGH, AND
FARMER DEMAND, ESPECIALLY FOR SUCH SEEDS AS
GROUNDNUTS, HAS BEEN EVIDENT. IF FUTURE OFDA FUNDS
ARE USED FOR SEED MULTIPLICATION, WHERE
APPROPRIATE, MULTIPLICATION OF GROUNDNUT SEEDS
SHOULD BE CONSIDERED.

176. FINALLY, THE SITUATION WILL NEED TO BE
CLOSELY MONITORED AS THE LEAN MONTHS CONTINUE. IF
SEED DISTRIBUTION IS DELAYED, THE FOOD GAP WILL BE
INCREASED AND THE SITUATION IS LIKELY TO
DETERIORATE FURTHER. USAID/OFDA AND THE MISSION
WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE SITUATION AND RESPOND
APPROPRIATELY AS NEEDED.
DELL

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