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Cablegate: Burma: Wfp Extends Assistance to Ex-Poppy Growers

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

UNCLAS RANGOON 000904

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/BCLTV; INL; PACOM FOR FPA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID EAGR PGOV SNAR PREF BM NGO
SUBJECT: BURMA: WFP EXTENDS ASSISTANCE TO EX-POPPY GROWERS

REF: 04 RANGOON 240

1. Summary: The World Food Programme has extended emergency
food assistance for a second year in Burma's Shan State. The
new $7.9 million program will benefit over 347,000
beneficiaries in ex-poppy growing communities and WFP would
"welcome (donor) support." End Summary.

2. WFP, like other UN agencies, has assessed that the GOB's
ban on poppy cultivation, and other efforts to eradicate
opium production in Burma, has affected many households by
removing a primary income source and creating a serious
malnutrition crisis. A one-year, $4 million emergency food
assistance program, commenced in 2004, targeted about 180,000
beneficiaries in the ethnic Kokang and Wa areas of Shan State
near the Chinese border (reftel).

3. The WFP recently launched "Emergency Food Assistance to
Vulnerable Families in Shan State" (EMOP 10345.1) and
proposes to offset the affect of the poppy ban by offering
food aid to the hardest hit communities. The 12-month
program, scheduled to last through May 2006, will reach
347,600 beneficiaries in the Wa, Kokang, and Lashio areas of
northern Shan State and several communities in southern Shan
State (all controlled by ethnic national armies).

4. The main objective of the food assistance program is to
provide food security to former poppy growing households
during the transition period from poppy cultivation to
alternative income sources. The program includes components
to rehabilitate communities and steer families back toward
self-reliance, via food-for-work, food-for-training, and
food-for-education programs. Relief rations will be provided
for a limited period, to cover the leanest months, and as a
back-up in case of natural disaster.

5. The program involves 19,961 tons of food and will cost
$7,924,474, including just over $4 million in direct food
costs. WFP will work in collaboration with local communities
and partner organizations, including the United Nations
Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and six international NGOs
and two local NGOs. In a recent note to donor missions in
Rangoon, the WFP-Burma program made a "soft" appeal for
unspecified support.
Martinez

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