The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said it will donate a total of $120 million in nine grants aimed at boosting agricultural production, marketing and farming expertise in the developing world.
“Melinda and I believe that helping the poorest small-holder farmers grow more crops and get them to market is the world’s single most powerful lever for reducing hunger and poverty,” Gates, the billionaire founder of software giant Microsoft, said in remarks to the World Food Prize annual meeting Oct. 15.
“The next Green Revolution has to be greener than the first,” Gates said in the prepared remarks. “It must be guided by small-holder farmers, adapted to local circumstances, and sustainable for the economy and the environment.”
The World Food Prize honors individuals each year who make significant contributions to alleviating hunger and improving agricultural production. It was established by Norman Borlaug, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist often called “the father of the Green Revolution” for his work with rice and wheat.
The Gates Foundation, which has been active in fighting child and infectious diseases in poor countries, has committed $1.4 billion to agricultural development efforts.
But Gates, in his first major speech on agricultural development, called for better co-ordination of aid efforts with the goal of making poor farmers self-sustaining. The new grants show the range of efforts needed, including investments in better seeds, training and market access for farm goods.