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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
08ISLAMABAD444 2008-01-31 02:12:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Islamabad
Cable title:  

PAKISTAN: FY 2008 BIOTECH OUTREACH STRATEGY AND FUNDING

Tags:   EAGR ECON ETRD KPAO TBIO PK 
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VZCZCXRO5506
RR RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHIL #0444/01 0310212
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 310212Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4759
INFO RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC 4149
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI 8788
RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE 4705
RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR 3380
					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 000444 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EEB/TPP/ABT/BTT/JOHN FINN AND GARY CLEMENTS
USDA FOR FAS/OSTA/ANDREW RUDE AND CALEB OKRAY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ECON ETRD KPAO TBIO PK
SUBJECT: PAKISTAN: FY 2008 BIOTECH OUTREACH STRATEGY AND FUNDING
REQUEST

REF: 07 STATE 160639



1. Summary: Despite playing a critical role in the original Green
Revolution, Pakistan has lagged behind neighbors India and China in
the development and utilization of modern agricultural
biotechnology. In response, the Government of Pakistan (GOP) is
looking to make the leap to join the "Gene Revolution," by
incorporating commercial biotechnology into the country's
agriculture. In response, Embassy Islamabad has outlined
biotechnology outreach goals for the coming year. Embassy Islamabad
requests funding in the amount of USD 58,000 for two proposals: a
Biotechnology Science Fellow and a Pakistan Biotechnology
Conference. End Summary.



2. The lack of intellectual property protection for seed breeders
represents the biggest obstacle to the adoption of legal biotech
seeds for major crops, including cotton. Without adequate IPR
protection, multinational agricultural biotechnology companies are
unwilling to partner with Pakistan's biotech research centers to
develop genetically engineered (GE) crops.



3. Pakistan freely imports certain bioengineered products, including
soybeans, soybean meal and soybean oil. While there are no legally
planted biotech crops in Pakistan, at least 40 percent of all
domestic cotton is genetically engineered. The modified seed,
developed for crop conditions in China, India and Australia, has
performed poorly in the face of mealy bugs and cotton curly leaf
virus.



4. Current biotech crops under development in Pakistan include
cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, canola (rapeseed), tomatoes,
potatoes, chilies, peppers and melons. Research centers are looking
to engineer crops that are virus and insect resistant, tolerant to
increased soil salinity and able to survive in drought and extreme
heat.



5. Embassy Islamabad's biotechnology outreach goals for FY 2008
are:

--Assist the GOP through the U.S.-Pakistan Science and Technology
Agreement in the implementation of the GOP's proposed
"Green-to-Gene" Initiative.

--Support the promulgation of sensible IPR legislation to protect
seed patents to allow collaboration between international plant
breeders and Pakistan's biotechnology research centers. Post is
also working actively on data protection for life sciences and
pharmaceutical companies test data.

--Promote scientific exchanges in the area of plant and animal
genomics through the USDA endowments at the Pakistan Agricultural
Research Center and agricultural universities nation-wide.

--Utilize the International Visitors Leadership Program to send
Pakistani opinion leaders to the United States on a biotech-focused
tour.

--Utilize the Foreign Press Center to organize a Biotech Reporting
Tour for Pakistani media.

--Locate a Biotech Science Fellow for a 3-month sabbatical in
Islamabad to work with Pakistani policymakers, opinion leaders,
scientists and educators to identity ways forward for the adoption
of genetically modified crops.

--Co-sponsor a Biotechnology Workshop to address the major issues
impeding the development of agricultural biotechnology in Pakistan.




6. Embassy Islamabad requests additional funds for two projects:

--Embassy Islamabad would like to invite a Biotech Science Fellow
for a 3 month sabbatical in Islamabad. Embassy Islamabad would look
to the Science Fellow to provide leadership in identifying barriers
to the promulgation of biotechnology regulations and to identify
areas of scientific collaboration and potential research
partnerships between Pakistani and U.S. scientists. The Fellow
would also engage in public outreach activities with students,
policy makers, opinion leaders and the media to promote the science
of genetic engineering.

The Biotechnology Science Fellow would assist the GOP in removing
barriers to the passage of biotechnology regulations and foster

ISLAMABAD 00000444 002 OF 002


U.S.-Pakistan collaboration in seed development. The Fellow would
work with the Embassy's Public Affairs Section to promote a positive
image of biotech crops and explain how biotechnology can help
Pakistan in meeting food security requirements.

Proposed Length: 3 months

Estimated cost: USD 51,000

Target audience: Pakistan's policy makers, opinion leaders,
scientists, students and the media.

--Embassy Islamabad also seeks additional funding for a 2-day
Biotechnology Conference and Workshop. U.S. speakers would include
the Biotechnology Science Fellow and one additional U.S.
biotechnology researcher. Most papers presented would be from
Pakistani biotechnology leaders in the field of research, policy and
education. The conference would focus on the implementation of
Pakistan's "Green to Gene" initiative, the current status of
Pakistani biotechnology research, food security, biofuel development
and potential areas for U.S.- Pakistan scientific collaboration. A
conference report would be published following the workshop.

Proposed Length: 2 days

Estimated Cost: USD 18,000 (Including the cost for U.S. participant:
USD 15,000 for two weeks; conference room: USD 2,000; publication:
USD 1,000)

Target audience: Pakistan's policy makers, opinion leaders,
scientists and media.



7. All project inquiries can be addressed to Alex Whittington,
Economic Officer, whittingtonae@state.gov, tel: 92.51.208.2667.

PATTERSON