Support smallholder agricultural research says Bill Gates
In his 2012 annual letter, Bill Gates stresses the need to see innovation as key to solving global issues. Top of his agenda is innovation in agriculture. He suggests that agricultural innovation begins by supporting agricultural research that focuses on the needs of smallholder farmers.
“Given the central role that food plays in human welfare and national stability, it is shocking—not to mention short-sighted and potentially dangerous—how little money is spent on agricultural research“, according to Gates.
“In total, only $3 billion per year is spent on researching the seven most important crops. This includes $1.5 billion spent by countries, $1.2 billion by private companies, and $300 million by an agency called the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).”
Speaking about innovation in agriculture, Bill Gates gives the example of a recent success story of the CGIAR Consortium which recently released a disease-tolerant cassava variety in Africa.