Bill Gates, USAID Administrator Shah Call For More Investment In Poor Farmers To Ensure Global Food Security

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Foundation, and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah on Tuesday called for developed countries to invest in farmers in the developing world to help end global hunger, Agence France-Presse reports. Gates and Shah spoke at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security in Washington, D.C. (Zeitvogel, 5/24).

“Gates promoted the Global Agricultural and Food Security Program, an initiative his foundation is funding … to essentially turn small African farms into mini-businesses,” and talked about stimulating innovation to develop better agriculture methods, Politico reports. “If you could get African production even at two-thirds of European or U.S. production,” Gates told reporters ahead of his speech, “You’d be talking about tripling their productivity” (Zapler, 5/25).

Shah outlined the Obama administration’s commitment to food security in his speech, AFP writes. The “administration has pledged $1.15 billion dollars to promote global food security in the 2011 fiscal year, said Shah. Most of the money – $900 million – will be invested in agriculture in 12 African, four Asian and four Latin American countries in USAID’s ‘Feed the Future’ program, and another $100 million has been committed to a multilateral trust fund set up with the World Bank to promote food security.” Shah also outlined government partnerships with “U.S. companies including Wal-Mart, Pepsi and General Mills to drive agricultural research in developing countries” (5/24).