Thursday, February 9, 2012

Another reason to Admire Bill Gates...

Bill Gates Speaks Out for Ag Research

Seattle--The relative lack of money devoted to agricultural innovation and research
was a key point in this year’s annual letter from Microsoft founder Bill Gates
on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s 2012 priorities. “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,” Gates wrote.

According to a foundation study, only $3 billion is spent each year on
research dedicated to the seven most important crops, which include wheat,
corn, rice, cassava, sorghum, legumes and sweet potatoes. Out of that total,
about half comes from countries’ public funds, $1.2 billion is from private
companies and $300 million comes from the Consultative Group on
International Agricultural Research. In 2010 alone,
the foundation made
$2.4 billion in grant payments to a number of agricultural development programs.

In his letter, Gates noted that the world population is projected to grow to
9.7 billion by 2050, which makes it imperative to help poor farmers sustainably
increase their productivity so they can feed themselves and their families. But
this will be possible only if agricultural innovation is a priority, he

Farm Report article

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