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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
03DJIBOUTI1847 2003-10-13 08:50:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Djibouti
Cable title:  

STATUS REQUEST BOR BIOTECHNOLOGY REGULATIONS

Tags:   EAGR ECON ETRD SENV TBIO TSPL DJ 
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					UNCLAS DJIBOUTI 001847 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EB - DMALAC; OES - HLEE; FDA - RLAKE; AND EPA -
JANDERSON

DEPT PASS USAID - JLEWIS

DEPT PASS USDA/FAS/OA - BSIMMONS

USDA/APHIS/BRS - JTURNER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ECON ETRD SENV TBIO TSPL DJ
SUBJECT: STATUS REQUEST BOR BIOTECHNOLOGY REGULATIONS
- DJIBOUTI

REF: STATE 263456



1. INTRODUCTION: DJIBOUTI IMPORTS MOST OF ITS CONSUMER
PRODUCTS, INCLUDING ALMOST ALL OF ITS FOOD CONSUMPTION.
THE HOST NATION RETAINS CLOSE RELATIONS WITH FRANCE,
WHICH ACCOUNTS FOR ABOUT TWO-THIRDS OF ITS IMPORTS.
AGRICULTURE IS NOT DEVELOPED AND REPRESENTS LESS THAN ONE
PERCENT OF THE COUNTRY'S GDP. DJIBOUTI PRODUCES LESS
THAN TEN PERCENT OF ITS FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CONSUMPTION.



2. POST MET WITH THE MINISTRY OF TRADE AUTHORITIES IN
CHARGE OF COMMERCIAL FOOD REGULATIONS, QUALITY CONTROL
AND LABELING. THE MINISTRY OF TRADE CONFIRMED THAT THERE
ARE NO LAWS OR REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE LABELING OF
BIOTECH PRODUCTS. NO SPECIAL LABELING IS REQUIRED FOR
BIOTECH PRODUCTS.



3. THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURAL INDICATED AS WELL THAT NO
LAWS OR REGULATIONS ARE IN PLACE FOR BIOTECH CROPS.
OFFICIALS AT THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURAL CLAIMED TO BE
KNOWLEDGEABLE, AT LEAST IN THEORY, ABOUT BIOTECH CROPS.
THEY INSIST LOCAL FARMERS ARE NOT READY FOR GMO SEEDS
BECAUSE FARMING IN DJIBOUTI IS STILL AT A RUDIMENTARY
STAGE AND BECAUSE OF COST. LOCAL OFFICIALS FEAR THAT
LOCAL SEEDS WILL BE ADVERSELY AFFECTED IF BIOTECH CROP
WERE INTRODUCED.



4. FOOD AID IS PROVIDED TO OVER TWENTY THOUSAND REFUGEES
HOSTED BY DJIBOUTI. THESE REFUGEES COME FROM SOMALIA,
ETHIOPIA, ERYTREA AND YEMEN. THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME
(WFP), IN COORDINATION WITH THE MINISTRY OF INTERIOR,
PROVIDES FOOD DONATIONS FOR CAMPS BUT DOES NOT BAN OR
REGULATE BIOTECH FOOD AID. DJIBOUTIAN OFFICIALS DO NOT
SEEM AWARE WHETHER OR NOT GMO FOOD AID IS BEING DONATED
TO THE REFUGEES.



5. Comment: All concerned Djiboutian ministries
confirmed that there are no existing laws or regulations
restricting the use of biotech food or GMO products.
However, Post notes that officials from the above-
mentioned ministries are not comfortable with biotech
food, and many stated personal opposition to them. They
echo French and European concerns about the implications
that genetically modified food might have on human
health. They also worry that GMO seed might somehow
contaminate the local varieties. Despite this general
negativity, Post sees no signs the host government will
enact laws or regulations on the subject matter in the
near future.

SMITH