INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Deputy Agriculture Minister Krisnamurthi Supports

Published: Mon 7 Dec 2009 02:12 AM
VZCZCXRO8935
RR RUEHJS
DE RUEHJA #1997/01 3410212
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 070212Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4007
INFO RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1146
RUEHJS/AMCONSUL SURABAYA 2598
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 001997
SIPDIS
STATE FOR EEB A/S FERNANDEZ
STATE ALSO FOR EAP/MTS AND EEB/IFD/OMA
USDA/FAS/OA MICHENER, BREWER
USDA/FAS/OCRA HALE, HIGGISTON, RADLER
USDA/FAS/OGA HOUSE, DWYER, ROCKE
USDA/FAS/OSTA BLUM, MACKE, BERMAN, WETZEL
USDA/FAS/OCBD SHEIKH, KREAMER, GROVES
COMMERCE FOR 4430/NADJMI
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR ME, EGAT
STATE PASS TO USTR WEISEL, EHLERS
PARIS PASS TO US MISSION OECD PATRICK O'REILLY
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAGR ETRD EAID ID
SUBJECT: Deputy Agriculture Minister Krisnamurthi Supports
Increased Engagement on Food Security
1. Summary. Ambassador Cameron Hume met with Dr. Bayu
Krisnamurthi, Deputy Minister of the Indonesian Ministry of
Agriculture on December 1, 2009 to discuss cooperation on food
security issues. Krisnamurthi supports the Secretary's new
policies on food security, and sees agricultural cooperation
as a way to strengthen the bilateral relationship, increase
investment, and promote the use of GMOs. Krisnamurthi would
like to set up a joint workshop on agricultural technology and
meet the head of the U.S. delegation in the upcoming OECD
meeting in Paris on December 7. End Summary.
Opportunity for the Bilateral Relationship
------------------------------------------
2. Dr. Krisnamurthi presented the Ambassador with a copy of an
article from a major Indonesian newspaper that was a
translation of Secretary Clinton's speech on Food Security
presented in September at the U.N. Food Security Event. Dr.
Krisnamurthi commented favorably on the contents of the speech,
in particular the five principles, and expressed support for
the new approach to address food security on a case by case
basis, and not take a one-size-fits-all approach.
3. In the 1970s and 1980s, as many as 300 Indonesians received
PhDs from U.S. Land Grant Universities under a USAID program,
according to Krisnamurthi. He stressed that this program has
been critical to Indonesia's food security and overall
agricultural development over the decades, as the U.S.-trained
scholars introduced new ideas and increased communication and
"spoke the same language." Krisnamurthi maintained that the
training program was also fundamental for the United States-
Indonesia bilateral relationship.
Business Can Play a Role
------------------------
4. The Ministry of Agriculture has identified investment in
agricultural research as a top priority for President
Yudhoyono's second term, according to Krisnamurthi. He also
stressed the importance of investments in such areas as plant
genetics, technology, and training of farmers and women. He
indicated that the United States and Indonesia can work
together in this area.
5. Dr. Krisnamurthi supports the wider use of technology
(including GMOs) in Indonesian agriculture. He stated that
GMOs are "a good tool" to increase productivity in the short-
to-medium terms, while "GMO-related health impacts are still
unknown and long-term concerns". He plans to use his new
position as the Deputy Minister to ease restrictions on
biotechnology. He added that Indonesia cannot simply use the
same rhetoric regarding biotechnology as it has in the past 30
years.
6. Ambassador Hume noted that fisheries should be an integral
part of Indonesia's food security as fish products are an
important element of the diet of the poor, and Krisnamurthi
agreed.
Going Forward
-------------
7. Dr. Krisnamurthi suggested that the United States and
Indonesia organize a joint workshop to address agricultural
technology (including GMO) and investment in the Indonesian
agricultural sector. He suggested that the workshop be open
to public (including the press), private, and NGO stakeholders.
Krisnamurthi proposed holding the workshop in Jakarta in early
2010. Ambassador Hume said that Post will get back to him
with a proposal.
8. Krisnamurthi also asked to meet with the chair of the U.S.
delegation to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development's Forum on Investment, Paris, France, December 7-8,
2009. Dr. Krisnamurthi is the Co-Chair for the session on
promoting responsible international investment in agriculture
and would like to meet with the U.S. representative during the
JAKARTA 00001997 002 OF 002
forum.
9. Ambassador Hume committed to providing Indonesia with
information on GMO that would support the Deputy Minister's
initiatives. FAS Jakarta has already received information from
FAS/W that it will provide to Dr. Krisnamurthi.
HUME
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