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Cablegate: Poland May Avoid Gm Animal Feed Ban

VZCZCXRO4940
RR RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHIK RUEHLZ RUEHROV
DE RUEHWR #0823/01 1931311
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 111311Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY WARSAW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6740
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
RUEHBS/USEU BRUSSELS
INFO RUEHKW/AMCONSUL KRAKOW 2128
RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 WARSAW 000823

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EUR/NCE
STATE FOR EEB/TPP/ABT/BTT FINN
USDA FOR FAS/OSTA MHENNEY, LJONES; FAS/OFSO DYOUNG
USDA FOR FAS/OCRA/RCURTIS, DSEIDBAND
BRUSSELS PASS AG MINISTER COUNSELOR;
EUROPEAN POSTS FOR AGR/ECON

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR ECON ETRD TBIO PGOV PL
SUBJECT: POLAND MAY AVOID GM ANIMAL FEED BAN

WARSAW 00000823 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) Summary. Legislation to delay a ban on genetically modified
crops in animal feed until 2012 will likely be signed by President
Kaczynski soon after he receives it from the Parliament. The Sejm
(parliament) and Senate gave final approval to the legislation July
11 and will send the draft law to the President soon. The ban would
have prohibited biotechnology events in animal feeds from August 11,
2008. Postponement of the ban will be due to concerted efforts of
domestic animal producers, local government officials, U.S. trade
associations, and Embassy officers from the Agriculture, Economic,
Commercial, and Public Affairs Sections. The EU Commission did
nothing to educate Poland about the need to comply with its
regulations on biotechnology, ignoring the issue.

2. (U) In 2006, Poland passed a law to prohibit the use of any
animal feed derived from genetically modified (GM) products
beginning August 11, 2008. Due to already high feed prices, animal
agriculture in Poland is struggling to survive. The additional
expense for premium non-GM feed would be devastating to Poland's
animal production. Poland risked a $6.4 billion loss in production
of pork, dairy, and poultry, as there is no alternative to using
imported, modified soybeans in animal feed. Poland's Ministry of
Agriculture successfully forced the issue passed the Ministry of
Environment, which staunchly opposes biotechnology.

3. (U) A new law delaying the ban's implementation until 2012 will
likely be signed by the President and become law. The ban looks
headed towards postponement due to a coalition of domestic animal
producers and regional politicians, influenced by the U.S. Embassy
and U.S. trade associations. U.S. Embassy Poland worked directly
with the Ministry of Agriculture, producer groups and the opposition
party, which holds the Presidency in Poland, to make them aware of
the ban's potential effects on Polish agriculture. Embassy Warsaw
hosted the American Soybean Association several times over the last
year to inform Polish producers about the asynchronous approval
problem caused by delays in approval of GM varieties by the EU
Commission. This outreach spilled over to help galvanize action in
Poland on the feed ban. The Commission was never heard in the
debate, except for the threat of a fine if Poland did not bring its
legislation into conformity with EU law. Most soybeans used in
Poland come from Argentina, but the ban would have damaged U.S.
agricultural investments and outlawed about $100 million in prepared
feed that are derived from U.S. soybeans.

4. (SBU) Post correctly identified Jan Krzystof Ardanowski, Advisor
to the President on Agriculture, as a man with the President's ear
and an important critic of agricultural biotechnology. USDA hosted
Ardanowski in the United States for a June visit to Washington, DC;
Michigan; and Illinois that seems to have been critical to changing
his understanding of the technology and resolving the crisis.
Ardanowski was briefed by Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator
Michael Yost, FAS/Office of Science and Technical Affairs Peter
Schmeissner and others. FAS Attach Kate Snipes accompanied
Ardanowski with a four-member delegation, including members of
Poland's Ministry of Agriculture, to learn about agricultural
biotechnology and biofuels. July 9, Ardanowski told Ag Counselor
that U.S. efforts to educate Polish leaders on biotechnology
influenced their decision to work toward a delay of the GM feed ban
and urged future U.S. engagement. He added that that this visit
directly influenced his decision to recommend the four-year delay of
the GM ban to the Polish Senate and President. (Comment:
Ardanowski's voice proved to be the decisive one in the
parliamentary debate in the Senate. His own political party, the
Law and Justice Party (PIS) introduced the ban, and in the face of
opposition from members of his own party he supported the four year
delay. He remains a skeptic, but clearly had his eyes opened during
his visit. End comment.)

5. (SBU) Ardanowski said that there is more work to be done in
Poland for farmer education, extension workers, and government
officials on agricultural biotechnology and asked for future U.S.
engagement and support. He said that these efforts would help
Poland to make a more educated decision about the technology.
Ardanowski did repeat thoughts prevalent in Europe that using
protein feeds derived from non-ruminant animals in place of soybeans
is an alternative to the biotech approval delay. Next, Post has
been invited to organize a visit of nationally recognized Polish
scientists to Opole, in Poland's corn belt, for a briefing of
regional leaders more interested in the technology for cultivation.
Poland's recently retired Nutrition Institute chief has agreed to
accompany emboffs and speak on behalf of the technology. Poland

WARSAW 00000823 002.2 OF 002


annually loses $400 million worth of corn crop to the European Corn
Borer and producers cannot ignore any longer the damage done to the
farm economy from this pest.

6. (SBU) Comment. While it will be a few weeks yet until formal
signature by the President of a postponement to the feed ban, it
currently seems headed in the right direction. The GM feed ban has
been delayed not overturned, but experts think the feed ban to be a
dead issue. Now there is a coalition to work with that wants to
change Poland's policy, educated about the perils of turning their
back on the global trends in biotechnology. End Comment.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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