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November 04, 2014

Most Gates Agriculture Funds Go to Rich Countries, Study Finds

A majority of the $3-billion the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has spent to fight hunger in the developing world has been directed to organizations in the United States, Britain, and other wealthy countries, The Guardian writes, citing new research. The analysis of the foundation's grants by Barcelona-based research group Grain found that about 10 percent of the funding went to groups in Africa.

About $1.5-billion went to global agriculture research networks, the World Bank, United Nations agencies, and groups that promote high-tech farming in Africa, according to Grain. Of the remainder, 80 percent supported research and development organizations in the United States and Europe.

"When we examined the foundation’s grants database, we were amazed that they seem to want to fight hunger in the south by giving money to organizations in the north," said Grain co-founder Henk Hobbelink, referring to the southern and northern hemispheres.

Gates spokesman Chris Williams said the foundation bases spending decisions on the needs of small farmers and that many large international fund recipients make grants in turn to smaller local groups. Looking only at the foundation's primary grantees "doesn't provide a complete picture of where our funds end up and who they benefit it," he said.