Gates Ag One to boost agricultural innovations in developing countries

Gates Ag One by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate the development of innovations in agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is in the process of creating a non-profit agricultural research institute for developing countries. In a press release, the foundation informs the public of the creation of Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations, LLC.

According to the foundation, the entity that will be known as Gates Ag One “seeks to accelerate the development of innovations supported by the foundation’s Agricultural Development team”.

The aim of Gates Ag One is to speed up efforts to provide smallholder farmers access to affordable innovations and tools that will improve crop productivity sustainably as well as become adaptive to the effects of climate change.

The non-profit agricultural research institute will touch small holder farmers, majority of whom are women, in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. These regions have a combined population of close to 2.8 billion people. 60% of them are found in rural areas and depend on small-scale farming for food and income.

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The foundation will collaborate with interested governments, regional and international public/private sector partners. Their goal is to work with partners to accelerate the production of drought-resistant and highly productive crops and seeds.

They also plan to provide assistance in the advancement of sustainable water and land management as well as greater access to agricultural markets. It is out to help empower smallholder farmers with affordable, high-quality tools, technologies, and resources that they need to help them alleviate poverty.

The foundation will support the support the creation of new product development channels informed by the need for innovations that are genuinely affordable for farmers.

According to the Foundation’s FAQ, some of the innovations will come from the foundation’s Agricultural Development program. Smallholder farmers are in need of new innovations which will help them adapt without which they will be forced to use unsustainable practices.

The foundation which is led by Sue Desmond-Hellman as CEO and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr.  is based in Seattle, Washington. It will be under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet. Joe Cornelius, who is the director of the foundation’s Global Growth & Opportunity Division will lead Gates Ag One.

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