Bill Gates: Technological innovation would help solve hunger

Gates Foundation has spent $1.5 billion on grants focused on agriculture in Africa

 

By Thalia Beaty, Associated Press

via Morning AgClips - Sep 13, 2022

 

NEW YORK (AP) — Bill Gates says the global hunger crisis is so immense that food aid cannot fully address the problem. What’s also needed, Gates argues, are the kinds of innovations in farming technology that he has long funded to try to reverse the crisis documented in a report released Tuesday by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

Gates points, in particular, to a breakthrough he calls “magic seeds,” crops engineered to adapt to climate change and resist agricultural pests. The Gates Foundation on Tuesday also released a map that models how climate change will likely affect growing conditions for crops in various countries to highlight the urgent need for action.

 

In assigning technology a pre-eminent role in addressing the world’s food crisis, Gates puts himself at odds with critics who say his ideas conflict with worldwide efforts to protect the environment. They note that such seeds generally need pesticides and fossil fuel-based fertilizers to grow.

 

Critics also contend that Gates’ approach doesn’t address the urgency of the crisis. Developing “magic seeds” takes years and won’t immediately deliver relief to countries currently enduring widespread suffering because they rely on food imports or are experiencing historic droughts.

 

It’s a debate that could intensify international pressure to meet the shared goals for global prosperity and peace, known as the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, ahead of a 2030 deadline. The 17 goals include ending poverty and hunger, battling climate change, providing access to clean water, working toward gender equality and reducing economic inequality.

 

“It’s pretty bleak relative to our hopes for 2030,” Gates, 66, said in an interview with The Associated Press. He added, though, “I’m optimistic that we can get back on track.”

 

Gates pointed to the war in Ukraine and the pandemic as the main causes for the worsening hunger crisis. But his message to other donors and world leaders convening for the U.N. General Assembly this September is that food aid won’t be enough...

 

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