Helping smallholder farmers and investment in result-oriented climate-resilient agriculture is crucial to achieve the SDGs and avoid a “catastrophic economic crash,” said Bill Gates during a special event organized by FAO.
“Smallholder farmers are accustomed to overcoming incredible adversity and are constantly innovating based on changing weather and market demands,” the Microsoft co-founder said. “But they can’t solve this alone.”
Gates, a billionaire who stepped down as chairman of Microsoft Corp in 2014, delivered the McDougall Memorial Lecture.
In his address, the billionaire warned that climate change has already affected agricultural productivity and is likely to cut harvest yields by as much as 30 per cent, increasing farmers’ exposure to droughts and floods.
Gates not only appreciated the “50 by 2030” initiative that aims to assist 50 low and middle-income countries in the domain of policy making but also praised the Ceres2030 project for using new advances in machine learning for the benefit of smallholder farmers.
The iconic tech-entrepreneur has a long-standing relationship with the UN food agency. In 2020, the Gates Foundation donated nearly $10 million against the desert locust invasion.
It must be mentioned here that the FAO Conference, for the first time in its history, is being held virtually.