Because they believe that small farmers are the answer to hunger in the developing world, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2012 had already committed more than $2 billion to agricultural development, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The grants support research to develop more productive and nutritious varieties of the staple crops grown and consumed by farming families. These include varieties adapted to local conditions that deliver specific benefits farmers seek, such as increased yields, better nutrition, and tolerance to drought, flood, and pests. The Gates Foundation also funds research to discover ways to better manage soil and water resources and reduce crop loss due to spoilage, weeds, pests, disease, and other threats. They believe productivity increase will translate into 400 million people lifting themselves out of poverty.
By 2012, their efforts had supported the release of 34 new varieties of drought-tolerant maize, delivered vaccines to tens of millions of livestock and trained more than 10,000 agro-dealers to equip and train farmers — including more women — in the field.
Learn more at the Gates Foundation
Photo by Andy Kristian Agaba (andykristian.com)