Gates calls for more money for ag research

Jan 24, 2012

KIRKLAND, Wash. — Bill Gates says high tech approaches to agriculture are an important tool for fighting hunger.

Gates released his fourth annual letter Tuesday, detailing the work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's largest charitable foundation.

It made grants totaling $2.6 billion in 2010, spending heavily to improve health and the fight hunger in poor nations.

Gates lamented that more money isn't spent on agriculture research and noted that of the $3 billion spent annually on work on the seven most important crops, only 10 percent focuses on problems in poor countries.

He says given the central role food plays in human welfare and national stability, it's shocking, short-sighted and potentially dangerous how little money is spent on agricultural research.

From Gates' letter:

"The world faces a clear choice. If we invest relatively modest amounts, many more poor farmers will be able to feed their families. If we don’t, one in seven people will continue living needlessly on the edge of starvation. My annual letter this year is an argument for making the choice to keep on helping extremely poor people build self-sufficiency."

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