Bill Gates calls for support to agricultural research for small farmers

In the opening lines of his 2012 annual letter, Bill Gates stresses the need for innovation, as key to improving the world. “When innovators work on urgent problems and deliver solutions to people in need, the results can be magical”, he says.

Bill Gates gives an overview of his ideas for innovation in global health and U.S. education, but first on his list is a call for “innovation in agriculture”.

“Given the central role that food plays in human welfare and national stability, it is shocking—not to mention short-sighted and potentially dangerous—how little money is spent on agricultural research, according to Gates.

“In total, only $3 billion per year is spent on researching the seven most important crops. This includes $300 million by an agency called the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).”

Even though the CGIAR money is only 10 percent of the spending, it is critical because it focuses on the needs of poor countries, says Gates.

“We can be more innovative about delivering solutions that already exist to the farmers who need them,” He adds “Knowledge about managing soil and tools like drip irrigation can help poor farmers grow more food today.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation continues to be a major investor in IWMI’s work. Examples include the Ag water solutions project which offers farmers in Africa and India workable solutions for water management.

Read and comment on the CGIAR’s post of this topic.




Related Articles