Gates Calls For Greater Coordination Among U.N. Food Agencies, Announces Nearly $200M In Grants For Agricultural Development Projects

In a speech delivered at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome on Thursday, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told IFAD, the World Food Programme (WFP), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that the “approach being used today to fight against poverty and hunger is outdated and inefficient” and asked the agencies “to unite around a common global target for sustainable productivity growth to guide and measure their efforts,” a Gates Foundation press release states. “Gates also announced nearly $200 million in grants, bringing to more than $2 billion the foundation’s commitment to smallholder farmers since the agriculture program began in 2006,” according to the press release (2/23).

“He called on the trio of agencies to improve coordination among themselves and to insist that the countries receiving food aid, agriculture technology, know-how and other assistance show what they have accomplished with periodic reports he likened to ‘report cards’ or ‘score cards,'” the Associated Press/Huffington Post’s “Impact” blog reports (D’Emilio, 2/23). “Gates pointed out that scorecards would ensure that each part of the system focuses on its key contribution to the overall goal and diagnose problems as they arise, as well as ‘spread the most effective interventions,'” according to the IOL Business Report (2/23). Gates also “called for a ‘digital revolution’ to alleviate world hunger by increasing agricultural productivity through satellites and genetically engineered seed varieties,” Agence France-Presse writes (Thuburn, 2/23).

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