In a letter to The Seattle Times, Sam Dryden, director of Agricultural Development at the Gates Foundation, stressed that investment in ag biotech helps small farmers to thrive in a variety of ways, from facilitating access to better seeds to empowering women farmers.
Dryden explains, “We invest in this kind of research when there’s potential to address challenges like crop diseases and drought that small farmers face faster and more efficiently than conventional techniques.”
The Washington Post and the New York Times offered highlights from Bill Gates’ address earlier today at the UN’s International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) Farmers’ Forum, where he called for the creation of common measurable targets for agricultural productivity in order to establish accountability and enable investors to identify the most effective methods of development.
He stressed the importance of employing high-tech agricultural solutions, saying the “use of such techniques can make the difference between suffering and self-sufficiency” for small farmers in developing countries. Gates also announced $20 million in new grants that will go towards both new and pre-existing projects whose aim is to reduce poverty through agricultural productivity.