Speaking at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ Symposium, Microsoft founder turned philanthropist Bill Gates urged rich nations, like the United States, to help fund poorer county’s agricultural programs. Over the last several years, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given over $1.7 billion to support food security worldwide. However, Gates stressed that no one individual or organization can solve global hunger, claiming, “The scale of opportunity means no one can do it alone – it demands the full participation of donor countries and national governments.”
In particular, Gates and others stressed the need to help fund small farms in South Asia and Africa. Increasing the productivity and sustainability of small farms across the third world would significantly reduce food insecurity and could help increase stability in developing nations.
Aiding the third world is more than just a philanthropic goal. Food insecurity is often the cause of political and economic instability around the globe. The recent revolution in Egypt, for example, was caused in part by a lack of food. Last year’s drought in Russia devastated the Russian wheat crop, forcing them to cancel hundreds of thousands of tons of wheat exports, much going to Egypt. The dramatic rise of food prices in Egypt helped spark the ensuing revolution.
As food prices rise worldwide it is increasingly vital that food insecurity be combated around the globe. U.S. officials from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to former President Bill Clinton have implied that a lack of food worldwide could easily lead to increased political instability, sparking wars and revolutions that could have major repercussions in the U.S.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer