Wikileaks: Qatar sharpening focus on food security and related technologies

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Viewing cable 09DOHA724, Qatar Sharpening Focus on Food Security and Related

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09DOHA724 2009-12-16 12:16 2011-08-26 00:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Doha
Original_wl_hour_glass_small
 
	VZCZCXYZ0275
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDO #0724/01 3501216
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161216Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY DOHA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9576
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
	UNCLAS DOHA 000724 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE DEPT PLEASE PASS TO USTR 
NSC FOR GAYLE SMITH AND CHRIS PRATT 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: EAGR ECON TRGY QA
SUBJECT: Qatar Sharpening Focus on Food Security and Related 
Technologies; Amir Increasingly Involved; Domestic and Regional Food 
Security Policies Under Development 
 
----------------- 
Introductory Note 
----------------- 
 
1. (SBU) The text below summarizes a new GOQ policy paper on Qatar's 
food security policies and strategies.  The paper was given to 
Ambassador LeBaron by an officer of Qatar's National Food Security 
Program, with the understanding that it would be circulated within 
the U.S. Executive Branch. 
 
2. (SBU) In Embassy Doha's judgment, Qatar's food security policies 
and strategies reflect the rapidly growing intent by the Amir and 
Crown Prince to make food security a key national priority for 
Qatar, not just in terms of Qatar's own food security needs, but in 
terms of the food security needs of the Arab region.  3. (SBU) That 
judgment stems from our conversations with Qatar government 
officials and from this part of the policy paper: 
 
-- While QNFSP's short-term focus is on the State of Qatar and 
building the domestic agricultural sector to diminish reliance on 
imports, the strategic goal of QNFSP is to export the technologies 
developed in Qatar to countries throughout the MENA region, and 
other areas with arid climates. 
 
-- Toward that end, some research results will be part of the public 
domain and available to everyone.  Some technology transfer to 
poorer MENA nations will be donor-based, through the activities of 
the offices of the State Minister for International Cooperation. 
The third component of Qatar's strategic goal of exporting QNFSP 
technology will be more commercially based, and will employ 
public/private partnerships. 
 
End Introductory Note. 
 
---------------------------------------- 
Qatar's Food Security Policy: Components 
---------------------------------------- 
 
4. (SBU) The food security policy of the State of Qatar is comprised 
of several related components that the GOQ is integrating into a 
unified, overarching policy.  These policy components include: 
 
-- The Qatar National Food Security Program (QNFSP), its food 
security principles, approaches, and strategies; 
-- Qatar's trade policy and relationships; 
-- Qatar's donor relationships with multilateral organizations and 
NGOs; 
-- Food security research and education; and 
-- Commercial investment abroad with a food-security element. 
 
5. (SBU) Below is a discussion of each component, with emphasis on 
the role each plays in the integrated and unified approach to food 
security that Qatar is developing. 
 
------------------------------------- 
QNFSP: Its Principles and Composition 
------------------------------------- 
 
6. (SBU) QNFSP is rapidly emerging as Qatar's principal national 
task force for food security policy development.   The chairman of 
QNFSP heads an interagency task force that researches and develops 
food security policy.  It is comprised of 14 government ministries 
and independent agencies, and research partners.  QNFSP was 
initiated by a Decree from the Heir Apparent in November 2008. 
 
7. (SBU) A fundamental defining principle that characterizes the 
QNFSP policy recommendations is maximum participation in all aspects 
of the agricultural sector by the private sector. The government 
role is intended to be similar to that in market economies with 
developed agricultural sectors.  That is, the government will 
provide research, extension, and infrastructure, and will operate a 
market-based stabilization structure. 
 
8. (SBU) Government entities may provide investment incentives and 
facilitate financing.  But their primary role is to create a dynamic 
investment environment for the private sector.  The government will 
not invest in, own, or operate agribusinesses. The primary emphasis 
will be on private investment in the agri-sector on a profit-making 
basis. 
 
 
 
 
9. (SBU) This emphasis on a commercially-driven Qatari agricultural 
sector is reflected in the composition of the QNFSP Task Force. 
Besides the various government entities, three members of the Task 
Force are commercial food-related companies.  These are Hassad 
Foods, Mawashi, and Al-Meera.  Their presence is intended to foster 
a robust, commercially-based agricultural sector in Qatar. 
 
-------------------------------------------- 
QNFSP: Goals both Domestic and International 
-------------------------------------------- 
 
10. (SBU) Accordingly, QNFSP's primary focus is on the domestic 
agricultural sector, and on developing a complete framework for the 
efficient functioning of domestic agriculture.  But domestic 
production is not the only element of the unified food security 
policy Qatar is developing.  The unified policy Qatar is developing 
will require that domestic production be complemented by external 
development, according to QNFSP. 
 
11. (SBU) While QNFSP's short-term focus is on the State of Qatar 
and building the domestic agricultural sector to diminish reliance 
on imports, the strategic goal of QNFSP is to export the 
technologies developed in Qatar to countries throughout the MENA 
region, and other areas with arid climates. 
 
12. (SBU) Toward that end, some research results will be part of the 
public domain and available to everyone.  Some technology transfer 
to poorer MENA nations will be donor-based, through the activities 
of the offices of the State Minister for International Cooperation. 
The third component of Qatar's strategic goal of exporting QNFSP 
technology will be more commercially based, and will employ 
public/private partnerships. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
International Financial Corporation Approach a Model 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
13. (SBU) Qatar has given Embassy Doha an example of how the latter 
might be structured.  Although only in the development stage, the 
technology model being considered by Qatar is similar to the 
business model of the International Finance Corporation (IFC). 
Indeed the IFC would most likely play a pivotal role in the export 
of technology.  QNFSP has already had what it describes as "very 
positive" discussions with the IFC. 
 
14. (SBU) Using solar/desalination as an example a possible format 
for technology export to poorer MENA countries would be as follows: 
a Qatari consortium, possibly involving QNFSP's research partners, 
would joint-venture with the IFC, and a company in the target MENA 
country.  Initial grant money could be provided by the Global 
Environmental Fund, or some other multilateral.  Then the joint 
venture would finance the remainder of investment costs.  Under the 
IFC model, the investment would be subject to due-diligence, and 
would have to show a positive profit, but would also have to contain 
a social-benefit (in this case providing sustainable water to 
enhance domestic production for food security). 
 
15. (SBU) Although designed on a commercial basis, the economics of 
the technology export would have to be feasible to the target 
country.  This would be a primary principle of any technology-export 
model and for that reason Qatar fully expects any private/public 
partnership to include members of the international multilateral 
community involved with aid and finance facilitation, as well as 
developed countries. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
Food Security to be Priority Trade Policy Issue 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
16. (SBU) Qatar recently strengthened its emphasis on trade policy 
in a food-security context, an indication that Qatar's approach to 
food security is, increasingly, not limited to domestic production, 
nor Qatari-centric.  HE Khaled bin Mohammed Al-Attiya, State 
Minister for International Cooperation and Acting Minister of 
Business and Trade, indicated Qatar's global view during his address 
at the November WTO Ministerial in Geneva. He stressed that 
transparency and the elimination of trade barriers was especially 
important for those countries reliant on international trade for 
food security.  The relationship between trade rules and modalities, 
and food-security, is a priority item on Qatar's trade policy 
agenda, accordingly to QNFSP. 
 
 
 
------------------------------------------- 
Qatar's Global Donor and Charity Operations 
------------------------------------------- 
 
17. (SBU) [QNFSP has promised to provide a complete list of Qatar's 
globally-oriented food-security donor activity.] 
 
 
---------------------- 
Research and Education 
---------------------- 
 
18. (SBU) Qatar has committed to establish a regional hub of 
education and research institutions that will serve the entire Arab 
world in the area of food security. 
 
19. (SBU) Qatar's intention is to have a critical mass of research 
organizations and educational institutions physically located in 
Qatar to serve as a regional repository of research on all critical 
elements of food security in the Arab region. 
 
20. (SBU) To this end, on top of the institutions already located in 
Qatar, serious negotiations are ongoing with DLR (the dominant 
repository of research information on solar energy) to locate an 
adjunct dedicated to the specific challenges of solar power in the 
MENA region in Doha. 
 
21. (SBU) Similar negotiations are proceeding with the Norman 
Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, affiliated with 
Texas A&M University.  In fact, Texas A&M is planning on adding to 
its Qatari engineering school by bringing components of its 
agricultural college to Education City in Doha. 
 
--------------------------------------------- 
Policy Toward Agricultural Investments Abroad 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
22. (SBU) There has been much controversy regarding Gulf nations 
purchasing land in places like Sudan for the purpose of producing 
agricultural products for the home market, in order to mitigate 
food-security risk. 
 
23. (SBU) Qatar is developing an approach that is intended to be 
sustainable, especially through the models being developed by Hassad 
Foods in collaboration, as one example, with development experts at 
Qatar Charity. 
 
24. (SBU) First, Hassad has innovated by considering investments in 
overseas agribusinesses rather than only purchasing land in 
countries with questionable property rights, and where the 
indigenous population may not benefit from such purchases.  Second, 
where land is being purchased, Hassad is consulting with development 
experts at organizations such as Qatar Charity in order to develop 
sustainable investment models where the local population benefits 
from technology transfer, enhanced markets and infrastructure, and 
remunerative selling arrangements. 
 
25. (SBU) This is very much a work in progress, but Qatar's projects 
in this area are attempting to follow many of the recommendations of 
researchers at multilateral organizations that are addressing 
problems with overseas land investments. 
 
LeBaron
Original source: Wikileaks
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