Bill Gates urges organizations to unite against hunger, poverty

February 24, 2012

Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told the international agricultural community it had fallen short of delivering the help small farmers in developing countries need, when they need it. In a speech delivered at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Gates asked the UN bodies responsible for fighting hunger and poverty to unite around a common global target for sustainable productivity growth to guide and measure their efforts.

"If you care about the poorest, you care about agriculture," said Gates. "Investments in agriculture are the best weapons against hunger and poverty, and they have made life better for billions of people. The international agriculture community needs to be more innovative, coordinated, and focused to help poor farmers grow more. If we can do that, we can dramatically reduce suffering and build self-sufficiency."

Gates told IFAD, the World Food Program (WFP), and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that the approach being used today to fight against poverty and hunger is outdated and inefficient. He urged these food agencies to commit to a concrete, measurable target for increasing agricultural productivity and to support a system of public score cards to maximize transparency for themselves, donors, and the countries they support.