UN boosts partnership with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help small farmers

Farmers water spinach in their vegetable garden. Photo: IFAD/GMB Akash

23 February 2012 – The United Nations and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced today their agreement to strengthen their partnership to support small farmers in developing countries.

The agreement, signed at the headquarters of the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome, signifies a step to build upon the partnership between the two organizations and to boost their joint ongoing work funding agricultural research and development in the poorest regions of the world.

According to IFAD, over the next four decades small farmers will need to produce 60 per cent more food to feed a growing, more urbanized population, and they must do so while facing increased risks related to environmental degradation, resource scarcity and climate change.

In a news release, IFAD emphasized the critical importance of supporting smallholder agriculture to provide climate solutions and help achieve sustainable development goals.

The agreement was signed during IFAD’s Governing Council by President of IFAD Kanayo F. Nwanze and the computing magnate and philanthropist Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

After the signing Mr. Gates made a presentation to discussing the importance of agriculture and how sustainable productivity improvements can reduce poverty in developing countries. He challenged both global players and national governments to adopt a new approach to support smallholder farmers.


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