To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development, what assessment the Department has made of the preparedness of Ethiopian Government departments to handle direct aid payments for humanitarian relief in famine areas. 
The Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Commission (DPPC) is the lead Government of Ethiopia body responsible for co-ordination of humanitarian responses. Humanitarian relief is delivered by a combination of the DPPC, UN agencies (especially World Food Programme) NGOs and the International Committee of the Red Cross.Overall, the DPPC system is able to adequately deliver humanitarian assistance across most of the country. However, in some districts with weak administrations or problems of unexpected severity, it has been necessary to deliver humanitarian relief directly through UN agencies or Non-Government Organisations (NGOs).
To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development what assessment he has made of the availability of (a) cereal seeds and (b) pulses in Ethiopia; and what steps his Department is taking to ensure adequate planting of seeds and pulses in Ethiopia before the end of the planting season. 
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Ethiopian Government's Ministry of Agriculture reported on both the variety and quantity needs for cereal and pulse seed on 4 June 2003. Estimated needs total $10 million.We have already contributed to meeting requirements through our £2 million donation to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in February 2003. We are working closely with the Government and other donors to further clarify and meet non-food needs such as seed.