Wikileaks: Food aid vs food security: An opportunity in the Gulf
Viewing cable 09DOHA595, FOOD AID VS. FOOD SECURITY: AN OPPORTUNITY IN THE
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OO RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDIR
DE RUEHDO #0595/01 2721301
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 291301Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY DOHA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9412
INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DOHA 000595
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL EAID EAGR ECON QA
SUBJECT: FOOD AID VS. FOOD SECURITY: AN OPPORTUNITY IN THE
REF: A. RIYADH 486 (NOTAL)
¶B. DOHA 268 (NOTAL)
-- Embassy appreciates talking points and public diplomacy
materials made available in support of the Administration's
efforts to promote food security.
-- Missing from those points, and our efforts, however, is a
strategy for engaging wealthy nations with little
agricultural production that are seeking food security for
-- Gulf countries like Qatar are a prime example of nations
for whom food security is a vital national security interest,
but whose arid lands produce virtually no agriculture.
-- Supporting partnerships between Gulf countries and
American farmers to advance their own food security agendas
would not only constitute a major boon for our farmers, but
would also put the USG in a better position to partner with
these countries in pursuing our own food security strategy
with poor nations in the Arab world and beyond.
-- Gulf countries have expressed their strong desire to work
with us on a project-specific basis rather than continue to
be pressed by "tin cup" requests (reftels). Food security is
an excellent issue on which to start.
END KEY POINTS
Food Aid vs. Food Security
¶1. (U) The White House, Department, and Department of
Agriculture have effectively highlighted the USG's strong
commitment to reducing hunger worldwide through development
assistance and partnerships. The talking points and public
diplomacy materials made available to posts have been
unprecedented in their accessibility and comprehensiveness.
¶2. (SBU) Missing from our discussions both public and
private, however, has been a focus on food security versus
traditional food aid. Wealthy Gulf countries such as Qatar,
blessed with oil and natural gas wealth, but with some of the
most arid land on earth, do not need assistance to feed their
people, but nonetheless view food security as a top national
security concern. That is why Qatar and others have in
recent years begun to invest in land in other countries such
as Pakistan and Kenya in an attempt to secure food supplies
for their growing populations in the decades to come.
¶3. (SBU) Qatar has established an agency to pursue its food
security agenda through not just outright land ownership in
foreign countries, but also through investments and
partnerships. Its director attended the recent UN
discussions on food security, and plans to meet the Governor
of Oregon to discuss ways Oregonian farmers could help Qatar
and the rest of the Arab world meet their food security
goals. There is real opportunity here for a new partnership
on this issue.
¶4. (SBU) As part of our strategy to promote food security
worldwide, we should engage countries like Qatar by
facilitating business partnerships with American farmers, for
whom the Gulf could be an increasingly important export
¶5. (SBU) We should also seek to parlay the Gulf countries'
strong interest in food security into a partnership on
development assistance that would include improving
agricultural production and humanitarian food assistance in
poor countries in the Arab world and in Africa. Qatar and
the other Gulf nations already provide development and
humanitarian assistance; with the help of American farmers
and in coordination with the USG, we may be able to direct
that assistance in ways that become a "force multiplier" for
our own efforts.
¶6. (SBU) Gulf nations have often expressed fatigue over our
frequent "tin cup" requests for various causes and the
Qataris have recommended that we instead approach them on a
project-by-project basis. Embassy recommends testing a new
approach along these lines by finding ways to combine the
DOHA 00000595 002 OF 002
Gulf countries' generosity, the bounty of American farmers,
and the USG's global food security agenda.
¶7. (SBU) To do that, however, we must begin making food
security in the Gulf countries -- not just food assistance --
a focus of our dialogue and efforts.
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