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Cablegate: Usaid Food Sector Specialist Visits Eastern

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

120856Z Dec 05


ACTION AF-00

INFO LOG-00 AGRE-00 AID-00 CA-00 CIAE-00 COME-00 INL-00
DS-00 EB-00 EUR-00 OIGO-00 FBIE-00 UTED-00 VCI-00
FDRE-01 H-00 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 LAB-01 L-00
M-00 VCIE-00 NEA-00 DCP-00 NSAE-00 ISN-00 NSCE-00
OMB-00 NIMA-00 EPAU-00 CAEX-00 PA-00 PM-00 GIWI-00
PRS-00 P-00 ISNE-00 SP-00 IRM-00 TRSE-00 FMP-00
BBG-00 EPAE-00 IIP-00 SCRS-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-00
DRL-00 G-00 SAS-00 SWCI-00 /002W
------------------6CD6B1 120912Z /38
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2711
INFO DARFUR COLLECTIVE
SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS NDJAMENA 001755

SIPDIS


STATE FOR AF/SPG, PRM, AND ALSO PASS USAID/W
USAID FOR DCHA SUDAN TEAM, AF/EA, DCHA
KHARTOUM FOR USAID DARFUR FIELD OFFICE
NAIROBI FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA, USAID/REDSO, AND FAS
ROME FOR FODAG
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
NAIROBI FOR SFO
NSC FOR JMELINE
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PLERNER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI CD SU USAID
SUBJECT: USAID FOOD SECTOR SPECIALIST VISITS EASTERN
CHAD, PART 2


-------------------
Summary and Comment
-------------------

1. As reported septel, the USAID Darfur Field Office
(DFO) food sector specialist visited eastern Chad from
November 16 to 29 to monitor emergency food assistance
activities of U.N. World Food Program (WFP).
Representatives from WFP, food distribution partners,
and humanitarian organizations accompanied the USAID DFO
specialist on visits to 6 of 12 refugee camps and to
several villages in eastern Chad. This is the second of
two assessment cables reporting on food security and
assistance programs in eastern Chad.

2. WFP reported that food assistance reached 347,000
beneficiaries in eastern Chad between January and
September 2005, contributing to an improvement in the
well-being of refugees compared to the previous year.
Despite the success of the operation to date, the USAID
DFO member reported that three looming issues will
affect the efficacy of the program in 2006: the
availability and timeliness of resources for food and
air operations; milling costs that deplete refugees'
cereal rations; and persistent problems with Libyan
trucking companies transporting contraband among WFP
food shipments from Libya to Chad. End summary and
comment.


-------------------------------
Issue #1: Unmet Resource Needs
-------------------------------

3. WFP's eastern Chad Emergency Operations Plan, EMOP
10327, covers an 18-month horizon ending in December
2006. Approximately 200,000 Sudanese refugees receive
monthly food rations. Through September, 147,000
Chadians in villages near refugee camps received rations
as compensation for participating in work, training,
school, and seed protection programs. The WFP program
has contributed to a relatively healthy camp population
and reduced tensions between refugees and host
communities.

4. WFP plans to refine operations in 2006, based on the
expectation that the humanitarian crisis will continue
through the year. WFP projects monthly needs of
approximately 4,200 metric tons (MT) in emergency food
commodities for refugees and host populations at the
current caseload level. The WFP/Chad country director
reported that in a contingency scenario, the program's
infrastructure would be sufficient to absorb up to
150,000 additional Sudanese refugees.

5. WFP estimates that 4,172 MT of food commodities are
required monthly to support refugees and targeted local
population. Current projections indicate that at the
end of May 2006 the pipeline will break in all food aid
commodities except corn-soya blend (CSB) and sugar. As
recommended in an October 2005 joint assessment mission
by WFP, U.N. agencies, the Chadian government, and
humanitarian staff, WFP plans to pre-position four
months of food needs in warehouses before the rainy
season, when transporting food is difficult due to poor
road conditions. However, even with the anticipated
contribution of 3,341 MT from the USAID Office of Food
for Peace (USAID/FFP) in early January, the program will
not have one month's stock to pre-position before the
rainy season begins in June. In discussions with WFP,
the only solution discussed to avoid the pipeline break
was for WFP/Chad to appeal to WFP headquarters for
internal borrowing. If headquarters does not approve
this appeal by mid-December, WFP may be forced to reduce
the food ration size as early as March. (Comment.
Reducing the food ration heading into the hungry season
that begins in late May will bode poorly for nutrition
indicators and will cause tension within the refugee
camps. End comment.)

6. In addition, to date WFP has received only $1
million of the $7.2 million requested for air operations


that move humanitarian staff and relief supplies from
the capital city of Ndjamena to the eastern hub of
Abeche, where planes depart for remote airstrips near
refugee camps. WFP reported that without additional
donor funding, air operations will close down at the end
of December. The impact would be significant; according
to WFP, in November 2005, these flights carried 1,284
passengers and approximately 4,700 kilograms (kg) of
relief supplies and light cargo.

-----------------------------
Issue #2: High Milling Costs
-----------------------------

7. In nearly every camp the USAID DFO specialist
visited, refugees complained about the exorbitant cost
of milling the cereal ration, confirming findings of the
October joint assessment mission. The ration is 12.75
kg of whole-grain sorghum or wheat, which refugees must
take to a mill to be converted into flour. Millers are
frequently refugees who charge cash or a percentage of
the ration in-kind in exchange for the milling service.
The in-kind payment varies by location and is usually
between thirty to fifty percent of the cereal ration.
Millers often sell the ration on the local market.
According to one refugee interviewed, the high milling
cost has caused many families to reduce the number of
daily meals from three to two. WFP has grappled with
the issue of milling costs for some time, but no studies
have analyzed the economics of milling. (Comment. One
solution implemented in Darfur beginning in 2005 was
increasing the cereal ration by 1.5 kg, giving
internally displaced persons (IDPs) more liquidity in
transactions and stabilizing sorghum and wheat prices.
As insufficient resources do not allow the WFP/Chad food
pipeline to sustain an increased cereal ration, WFP is
considering purchasing mechanical hand mills to
distribute to clusters of families. In Darfur, USAID
partners Community, Habitat, and Finance International
(CHF) and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) plan to implement a similar pilot program in the
coming weeks, and will share the results with USAID
partners in eastern Chad. USAID partners in Darfur are
currently using diesel-powered industrial mills, but the
high cost of diesel makes this option unsustainable over
the long term. End comment.)

--------------------------
Issue #3: Libyan Trucking
--------------------------

8. WFP ships approximately 30 percent of food
assistance for eastern Chad and slightly less than 20
percent of Darfur-bound food assistance through a supply
route originating in Libya. The route begins at the
Mediterranean Port of Benghazi and continues through the
Sahara Desert to the air base of Al Khufra, in
southeastern Libya. From Al-Khufra, some food is
airlifted into Darfur, while the rest is trucked south
into Chad. A portion of food that enters Chad through
the Libya supply route is transshipped from Abeche and
sent eastward into Sudan along road connecting Abeche
and Geneina, West Darfur. During a three-week period
spanning October and November 2005, approximately 7,500
MT of food aid commodities were shipped to Darfur from
eastern Chad.

9. WFP continues to face delivery delays that occur
when Chadian customs authorities find contraband items
in food aid shipments transported from Libya to Chad by
Libyan trucking companies. Smuggling is common along
traditional commercial routes between the two countries,
and in recent months WFP ceased to facilitate the
customs process for Libyan truck deliveries due to the
persistent presence of contraband goods among food
shipments.

----------------------
USAID Recommendations
----------------------

10. As a result of this field visit, the USAID DFO food


specialist recommends that WFP continue to refine
operations with the expectation that the humanitarian
crisis will last at least until 2007, and clarify
resource requirements under EMOP 10327 to respond to a
contingency scenario of up to 150,000 additional
Sudanese refugees. Expanding current programs,
particularly activities for which host populations are
compensated with food, and gathering refugee input on
program issues would positively impact the situation in
eastern Chad.

11. Looking beyond 2006, Chadian authorities,
humanitarian staff, and beneficiaries all noted that
Chad has a host of long-term development needs across a
variety of sectors, but no one could identify any
regional or sectoral plans for a three- to five- year
horizon. Donors would benefit from an inventory of
existing analyses, plans, and institutional capabilities
during 2006.

12. The USAID DFO food sector specialist made the
following recommendations related to issues with
milling, resources, and Libyan truckers:

13. A. Before spending an estimated $500,000 on
mechanical mills, WFP and partners should study costs
and revenues of milling operations, and opportunities
for savings or outside intervention. WFP and partners
should discuss the results of this study with each
camp's Refugee Committee and millers to agree on costs,
fees, and possibly subsidies.

14. B. By January 2006, USAID/FFP should be prepared to
call forward its next Chad contribution, estimated to be
3,341 MT, or less than one month's supply. Additional
USAID resources should be considered as soon as possible
in FY 2006 to address future pipeline issues. USAID or
another USG agency should consider an immediate
contribution to sustain the WFP air operation.

15. C. WFP is correctly and carefully observing the
Libyan trucking companies' performance.

16. The USAID DFO food sector specialist noted the need
for continued monitoring of food assistance in refugee
camps in Chad, and increased coordination among USG
entities on monitoring schedules and objectives.

WALL


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