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Cablegate: Mali - Ghfsi Diplomatic Strategy


DE RUEHBP #0048/01 0291111
R 291111Z JAN 10



EEB/TPP/MTAA for Gary Clements

E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. 09STATE124059 B. 09STATE127466

1. (U) Embassy Bamako is pleased to submit its Global Hunger and
Food Security Initiative (GHFSI) diplomatic strategy paper. Post
has a robust plan to foster agricultural development. It
coordinates closely with the Government of Mali (GOM) and
international donor partners. We have identified several policy
areas which could benefit from increased diplomatic engagement as
well as opportunities to improve collaboration with third-country
partner nations. The GHFSI diplomatic strategy addresses each of
the five core principles individually.


2. (U) Advancing Agricultural-Led Growth: Embassy Bamako administers
approximately USD 125 million annually to foster agricultural
development. This includes funding by USAID, MCC, and other
programs. The Alatona Irrigation Project is the largest component of
the MCC compact and provides a catalyst for the transformation and
commercialization of family farms. Alatona supports Mali's national
development strategy objectives to increase the contribution of the
rural sector to economic growth and help achieve national food
security. The project focuses on large-scale water conveyance
systems to provide improved irrigation to the Niger River Inner
Delta, a principal and potentially much richer agricultural zone in
Mali producing rice and other basic grains. This component further
strengthens the capacity of the farmers to achieve food security
through land titling, farm to market road upgrades, community
infrastructure development, literacy, crop diversity and water
management training.

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3. (U) USAID has a broad program to advance agriculture-led growth.
Its programs include increasing production of basic grains;
improving animal husbandry and livestock management (including
cattle, goats, sheep, and chickens); instructing rice producers on
techniques to allow combined rice and aquaculture (fish) production;
improving seed quality in collaboration with the Malian Ministry of
Agriculture (MOA); teaching alternative irrigation techniques for
semi-arid climates; training small- and mid-scale farmers in market
development skills; coordinating with other USAID missions on
development of regional trade corridors; and providing technical
assistance to local financial institutions to develop financial
products which better address the agricultural sector's needs.
USAID-Mali is also exploring the possibility of improving secondary
roads to assist rural farmers in getting their produce to market.

4. (U) Both USAID and MCC's programs address the needs of the
ultra-poor and women in Mali. Over 70 percent of Malians depend on
agriculture for their livelihood; the majority falls in the category
of extreme poverty. Women are the primary small-scale farmers and
generally manage family flocks of small ruminants (goats and sheep)
and chickens, which are the activities Embassy Bamako's programs
most directly target. Post is also working with the Malian Ministry
for the Advancement of Women and Children (MAWC) to integrate MAWC
programs into the GOM's broader agricultural development strategy.

5. (U) Two main policy issues have the potential to hinder the
effectiveness of Post's programs: land titling and application of
trade policy. Land titling in Mali is not particularly troublesome
except in the agricultural sector where it is highly politicized and
often inaccessible to women. Legal land titling also runs into
complex traditional land rights claims. Post has the intention of
integrating land title assistance into its agricultural programs and
is feeling out opportunities for coordination with other donor

6. (U) To support the development of regional trade corridors, the
Embassy Political/Economic Section (Pol/Econ) will work with USAID
to identify West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU)
internal tariff reductions t@rJgS~!2| the Malian Ministries of
Commerce and Finance. A lack of transparency in the application of
customs rules and duties across borders in West Africa hinders the
development of regional markets. Post will continue to work closely
with Embassy Dakar on this issue as well as bring it to the
attention of the Malian Ministries of Commerce and Finance.
Additionally, during the food security scare of 2007-2008, many
countries closed their borders to exports in attempts to lower
prices on agricultural products; this harms producers, who cannot
sell their production at prevailing market prices, as well as
encourages the development of black markets. In the event of price
spikes at the local, regional, and/or international level, Post will
be proactive in encouraging the GOM to keep its borders open for
exports of local agricultural products.

7. (U) Under-nutrition: Post currently works on medical
under-nutrition through USAID's health programs. Regarding general
under-nutrition, USAID currently has a flour enrichment program with
Grands Moulins du Mali - the largest flour mill in Mali. USAID is
currently investigating the possibilities of further fortification
programs as well as consumer education campaigns on nutritional

8. (U) Humanitarian Assistance: Post currently provides humanitarian
assistance through PL480 Food for Peace funds. USAID is currently
working to integrate health components and agricultural technical
assistance into its PL480 programs to better leverage the
opportunities to work with the ultra-poor.


9. (U) USAID and the European Union Mission to Mali worked closely
with the MOA to develop Mali's Comprehensive Africa Agriculture
Development Program (CAADP) strategy, which outlines Mali's
agricultural development needs and strategy and which Mali signed in
November 2009. The CAADP strategy was partially coordinated through
the multilateral Technical and Financial Partners (PTF) Group on
Agriculture, currently led by the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization Resident Representative (FAO ResRep) to Mali. A
follow-up meeting on CAADP implementation, including the
participation of international donors and the Ministries of
Agriculture and Integration, will take place in May/June 2010.

10. (SBU) The PTF group on Agriculture is facing a serious
leadership crisis. The FAO ResRep has not called a meeting of the
PTF in over three months. Two partner nations have asked USAID to
take responsibility of the PTF when the leadership rotates this
year. USAID's ability to exercise a stronger leadership role in the
PTF entirely depends on planned staffing increases in the USAID-Mali
Accelerated Economic Growth program.

11. (U) On a bilateral basis, USAID is coordinating closely with the
MOA. In particular, USAID has developed a strong relationship with
the Statistics and Planning Department of the MOA. Pol/Econ will
follow up with the Ministry of Finance to ensure the GOM holds to
its commitment to spend 10 percent of its national budget on
agricultural development.


12. (SBU) Strategic Coordination: As mentioned above, Post has been
active in coordinating with donor partners through the PTF group on
agriculture. As soon as USAID has the necessary staff to take a
leadership role in the group, it intends to do so. Post also
intends to reach out to other development partners, such as the
Japanese (who have a rice marketing strategy that is not coordinated
with other donors), to bring them into the coordination process.

13. (U) Leveraging the benefits of Multilateral Institutions:
Embassy Bamako has actively supported the World Bank's Investment
Climate Assessment (ICA) program in Mali. This program aims to
improve the business climate in Mali to promote private sector
development. Post is also looking into additional ways of
increasing cooperation with the World Bank.


14. (U) Post is currently taking advantage of the six-month period
between Mali's signing of its CAADP strategy and the follow-up
meeting in May/June 2010 to gather information which will fill
analytical gaps on nutrition, adult literacy, climate change, and
secondary road development. By maintaining close contact with key
donor partners (e.g. the Dutch and the Japanese) and with the MOA,
Post will attempt to keep the GOM on track to complete its
commitments in its CAADP strategy.

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