Today's top stories on global agricultural development and food security issues.
January 25, 2012
By Sung Lee
In his 2012 annual letter, Bill Gates stressed the needs for continued investments in global agricultural development to alleviate extreme poverty. Today, "over 1 billion people - about 15 percent of the people in the world - live in extreme poverty," said Bill Gates. "The world faces a clear choice. If we invest relatively modest amounts, many more poor farmers will be able to feed their families. If we don't, one in seven people will continue living needlessly on the edge of starvation. My annual letter this year is an argument for making the choice to keep on helping extremely poor people build self-sufficiency."
2012 Annual Letter from Bill Gates, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, January 24
We can be more innovative about delivering solutions that already exist to the farmers who need them. Knowledge about managing soil and tools like drip irrigation can help poor farmers grow more food today. We can also discover new approaches and create new tools to fundamentally transform farmers’ lives.
Gates defends focus on high-tech agriculture, Associated Press, January 25
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has spent about $2 billion in the past five years to fight poverty and hunger in Africa and Asia, and much of that money has gone toward improving agricultural productivity.
Double agricultural research to help world's poorest, Reuters, January 25
The world needs at least to double its spending on agricultural research if it is to produce reliable crops and improve the lives of the one billion people who battle starvation every day, Bill Gates said. Referring to agricultural research, he said it was shocking - as well as short-sighted and potentially dangerous - that only $3 billion is spent each year on seeking to improve the seven most important staple crops on which the poor depend.
Farming is key to meeting environmental challenge: FAO chief, AFP, January 24
"Agriculture ministers from the entire world must be present at the Rio+20 meeting (in June) so that agriculture commits itself to helping clean up the planet," Jose Graziano da Silva, the new boss of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said.
Top foreign policy goal for 2012: feeding the children of drought and conflict, Examiner, January 24
In 2012 America's top foreign policy objective should be to rehabilitate the children of drought and conflict across the globe. For if we do not, we give up on peace and stunt the future of so many suffering countries. This is not an insurmountable challenge. It is far less expensive than war.
Eight examples of effective food aid, UN World Food Program, November 29
Food assistance is a critical part of that discussion and WFP, which has 50 years of experience fighting hunger worldwide, is there to contribute what it has learned. From school meals to e-vouchers, here are eight examples of aid that WFP’s experience has shown to be effective.