Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Statement on Creation of Nonprofit Agricultural Research Institute
SEATTLE, January 21, 2020 – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is in the process of creating a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations, LLC, which seeks to accelerate the development of innovations supported by the foundation’s Agricultural Development team. The entity, to be known as Gates Ag One, aims to speed up efforts to provide smallholder farmers in developing countries, many of whom are women, with access to the affordable tools and innovations they need to sustainably improve crop productivity and adapt to the effects of climate change.
In two of the fastest growing regions of the world—sub-Saharan Africa, home to around 1 billion people, and South Asia, with a population of about 1.8 billion—approximately 60 percent of the population lives in rural areas that typically depend on smallholder agriculture for food and income. In sub-Saharan Africa, agriculture accounts for more than half of the region’s employment, and for South Asia it contributes about 40 percent. Yields on farms in these regions are already far below what farmers elsewhere in the world achieve, and climate change will make their crops even less productive.
Gates Ag One will collaborate with a diverse community of regional and international public- and private-sector partners, as well as interested governments, to enable the advancement of resilient, yield-enhancing seeds and traits globally and facilitate the introduction of those breakthroughs into specific crops essential to smallholder farmers, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The goal of Gates Ag One is to help the foundation deliver on its mission to empower smallholder farmers with the affordable, high-quality tools, technologies, and resources they need to lift themselves out of poverty. The foundation is still in the early planning stages, and we look forward to sharing additional details in the future. For more information on Gates Ag One, please consult our frequently asked questions document.