World

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledges $315 million to support innovations that help smallholder farmers adapt to climate threats

SEATTLE, November 2, 2021 – Today at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged US $315 million to the CGIAR global agriculture research partnership to help hundreds of millions of smallholder farmers adapt to a surge of climate threats now imperiling the global fight against hunger and poverty.

There are 500 million smallholder farmers and livestock keepers in low-income countries—the majority of whom are women—facing a rising tide of climate threats that impede their ability to support their families and provide food for billions of consumers. Despite the magnitude of the crisis, there are few resources available to help them adapt.

Sub-Saharan Africa, where most people work in agriculture, accounts for only 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Yet less than 2% of global public funding for climate-related work targets the needs of smallholder farmers. Most of this funding is focused on reducing emissions.

With this new pledge, CGIAR—which has been delivering high-impact solutions to farmers in low-income countries for 50 years—has secured over half a billion dollars in 2021 to develop a wide array of climate-smart innovations, like stress-tolerant crop varieties, climate forecasting services and new strategies for restoring degrading lands to improve productivity.

The Gates Foundation’s commitment to CGIAR now totals more than $1 billion. The foundation is calling on the global community gathered in Glasgow to provide the additional investments CGIAR needs to support sustainable, resilient growth in the agriculture-dependent regions of the world.

The foundation is also addressing the adaptation needs of smallholder farmers by funding early warning systems for tracking the climate-accelerated spread of crop and livestock diseases and digital services that connect farmers with a wide range of supports more efficiently. The foundation has spent over $5 billion since 2009 in total commitments to agricultural development to support the needs of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

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About the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman, under the direction of Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates.

Media contact: media@gatesfoundation.org