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New Agriculturist: News brief - Gates grants US$120 million to help small farmers
 
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Gates grants US$120 million to help small farmers

Orange-fleshed sweet potato is one variety designed to improve the food security of farming families (R Kapinga/CIP)
Orange-fleshed sweet potato is one variety designed to improve the food security of farming families
R Kapinga/CIP

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded nine grants, worth US$120 million, to help smallscale farmers grow more food sustainably. "Helping the poorest smallholder farmers grow more crops and get them to market is the world's single most powerful lever for reducing hunger and poverty," Bill Gates said during the 2009 World Food Prize Symposium. "Poor farmers are not a problem to be solved; they are the solution - the best answer for a world that is fighting hunger and poverty, and trying to feed a growing population. If farmers can get what they need to feed their families and sell their surplus, hundreds of millions of the poorest people can build themselves a better life."

Using sweet potato to improve the nutrition, income and food security of one million farming families is the aim of one of the nine projects. Launched by the International Potato Centre (CIP), the Sweet potato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA) project will establish three regional support centres in Ghana, Uganda and Mozambique to strengthen national sweet potato breeding skills and capacity. In addition to ensuring that smallholder farmers can access disease-free planting material, SASHA will also begin to breed locally-adapted sweet potato varieties that resist drought and pests including weevils.

Date published: January 2010

 

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