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February 24, 2012

Gates Pledges $200-Million for Small Farmers, Criticizes U.N. Food Agencies

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation committed $200-million Thursday to efforts to boost productivity on small farms in the developing world, according to The Guardian and the Associated Press.

Announcing the grant program at a meeting of the United Nations' International Fund for Agricultural Development in Rome, Bill Gates criticized U.N. food agencies for what he termed outdated and inefficient modes of support for farmers in Africa and Asia.

Mr. Gates said the organizations should set measurable targets for boosting farm yields, insist that countries receiving agricultural aid provide "score cards" on their progress, and embrace high-tech solutions for increasing food production, including genetic modification.

The new round of foundation support will be invested in projects to develop drought-tolerant maize and vaccines for livestock and in equipment and training for farmers.

The Guardian’s report was part of the British newspaper’s global-development coverage, which the Gates Foundation supports financially.