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Cablegate: Improving Food Security This Winter in Afghanistan

VZCZCXRO3089
PP RUEHIK
DE RUEHBUL #3729/01 3231852
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 191852Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3316
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEHC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC 0138

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 003729

AIDAC
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR S/SRAP AND SCA/A
DEPT PASS AID/ASIA BUREAU
DEPT PASS USDA FOR FAS MICHNER
CENTCOM FOR CSTC-A, USFOR-A
DEFENSE FOR OSD FOR SEDNEY

E.O.12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID EAGR ECON PREL AF
SUBJECT: IMPROVING FOOD SECURITY THIS WINTER IN AFGHANISTAN

KABUL 00003729 001.2 OF 002


1. SUMMARY: Although 2009 saw the largest harvest in Afghanistan in
30 years, food insecurity continues to affect approximately
one-third of rural households, with an additional 30% facing
periodic food security problems. The lack of purchasing power is
now the primary cause of food insecurity, not the absence food.
According to USAID's Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS-NET),
supply has improved significantly following the historic wheat
harvest, a 50% decrease in wheat prices, and generous food aid
distribution. USAID's Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Productive
Agriculture (AVIPA) program increased the availability of essential
inputs during the 2009 winter wheat planting season, improving the
quality and increasing the quantity of the harvest. The expansion
of cultivated land by 1 million hectares in 2008/2009 (Ministry of
Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) statistics) has also
been a factor. Despite this progress, food insecurity among
vulnerable populations is on the rise as winter 2009/2010
approaches. Food insecurity will be most pronounced in remote
regions, larger cities, flood-affected areas, and among internally
displaced persons (IDPs). USG efforts targeting these populations
are expected to assist them in meeting their food needs this winter.
The USG will continue to monitor the situation closely. END
SUMMARY.

2. Harsh winter weather will affect Afghanistan very soon; we have
put together this summary for Washington agencies of USAID-supported
food security programs. These include: support to the World Food
Program (WFP), Protracted Relief & Recovery Operation (PRRO), a Food
for Peace (FFP) Multi-Year Assistance Program (MYAP) implemented by
World Vision, support to the FEWS-NET and preparing to address
unforeseen events.

ONGOING EFFORTS

3. The World Food Program (WFP) provides assistance to Afghanistan
through a combination of relief and recovery activities. Projects
are implemented in partnership with the Government of the Islamic
Republic of Afghanistan (GIRoA), other UN agencies, Community
Development Councils (CDCs), and non-governmental organizations
(NGOs). Through this program, the USG provided 157,520 metric tons
(MTs) of wheat, valued at $167 million in FY 2008, and 62,190 MTs of
wheat, valued at $60 million in FY 2009. In response to a joint
GIRoA and United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA)
appeal, the USG provided an additional 85,000 MTs, valued at $90
million, in assistance specifically for winterization planning and
pre-positioning of food commodities for the 2009/2010 winter. As of
October 20, 80%of the commodities had been pre-positioned for
accessibility in the winter months in 19 targeted provinces
throughout Afghanistan, including those considered to be most food
insecure. WFP anticipates completing 100% of pre-positioning by
mid-November, thus mitigating the hunger season in Afghanistan that
lasts from approximately November through late April every year.

4. The Multi-Year Assistance Program (MYAP) in Ghor province,
implemented by World Vision (WV) with USAID support, seeks to reduce
food insecurity by improving food utilization and increasing
household resiliency to shocks. The program specifically targets
children under five with an emphasis on children under 24 months of
age and pregnant and lactating women. During the life of this
three-year program, WV will distribute over $33 million in food
commodities to vulnerable groups. In addition to their ongoing
program, WV will allocate resources to populations affected by
shocks, including natural disasters, political conflicts, and those
who have been internally displaced. The WV support will ensure that
vulnerable populations do not continue to backslide during the
winter months when livelihood opportunities are minimal. In
consultation with USAID, WV will distribute a four-month ration of
yellow peas, oil, and rice and wheat flour directly to program
participants (52,000 beneficiaries) prior to the start of hunger
season when roads become impassable due to snow. The ration will
cover the entirety of the hunger season, with WV resuming planned
distribution in March 2010. As household food stocks are at their
lowest level during November-April, it is unlikely that the
commodities will appear on the market.

5. The Cash-For-Work and Voucher Program in Bamyan, Ghor, and Hirat
Provinces, implemented by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) with USAID
support, targets 23,000 vulnerable families (138,000 individuals)
affected by successive shocks including drought, floods, high food
prices, and severe winter conditions, which combined, have severely
eroded assets and coping mechanisms. By generating household
income, vulnerable family access to immediate basic needs during the
upcoming winter period will be improved.

6. FEWS-NET is vital in providing weather and food security

KABUL 00003729 002.2 OF 002


information for Afghanistan, and has been critical in identifying
vulnerable populations and mitigating the effects of shocks.
FEWS-NET regularly undertakes essential monitoring and food security
assessments to inform decision-makers throughout the winter.
Monthly reports provide critical data on food commodity prices and
the current food security situation. Weekly reports provide data on
weather forecasts. The most recent Food Security Update for
Afghanistan highlights needs in chronically food insecure zones
which are characterized by challenging climatic conditions and
inaccessibility, in addition to major cities, and areas affected by
floods and/or with war-related IDPs. USAID shares information
concerning these vulnerable populations its partners and GIRoA and
adjusts programming to prevent further deterioration during the
hunger season.

COMMENT

7. USAID efforts to prevent and mitigate Afghan hunger through
programs with GIRoA, international bodies and NGOs support MAIL's
National Agriculture Development Framework through capacity building
with GIRoA national and provincial staff. In addition to working
with MAIL and the Ministry of Public Health, the programs partner
with the Ministry for Rural Rehabilitation and Development, with
direct links to the U.S. Agriculture Assistance Strategy for
Afghanistan to increase the MAIL's service delivery. The activities
work together to provide food security and support the
counter-insurgency (COIN) strategy in strengthening the GIRoA's
legitimacy, and by securing vulnerable populations that might
otherwise be at risk of being recruited by the insurgents.

EIKENBERRY

Clearance page:

Drafted:
USAID/OAG - Sukhi Dosanjh_____Ok_____ (ext 4557)

Cleared:

JGoodwin, OAG: ____Ok______ Date: __11/01/2009__
KLucas, OAG: ____Ok______ Date: __11/02/2009__
SSobol, OAG/OFDA: ____Ok______ Date: __11/02/2009__
JPennell, OAG: ____Ok______ Date: __11/03/2009__
RMcSherry, USDA: ____Ok______ Date: __11/03/2009__
Cepperson, PPDO: ____Ok______ Date: __11/07/2009__
RBlack, DIR: ____ok_____ Date: _________
BFrej, DIR: ____________ Date: _________
MBoyse CDDEA: _____ok_______ Date: __11/15_______

P:\ADAG PUBLIC\ADMINISTRATION & CABLES\ADAG Cables\Cable # 12 - Food
Security Winterization\Cable on Food Security and Winterization
10-20-09.doc

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