The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced today that it would contribute $1.4 billion to support smallholder farmers in addressing the short- and long-term effects of climate change, joining calls from African leaders for countries to quickly scale up financing for climate adaptation.
This was disclosed the Gates Foundation CEO Mark Suzman, at the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference being held from 6 November until 18 November 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
“The effects of climate change have already been devastating, and every moment the world delays action, more people suffer, and the solutions become more complex and costly,” said Suzman.
“Our commitment will help smallholder farmers adapt today and build resilience for the future. It is essential for this climate summit to produce bold commitments that address immediate and long-term needs. Leaders must listen to the voices of African farmers and governments to understand their priorities and respond with urgency, he added.”
Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda French Gates, said, “Women in rural Africa are the backbone of their food systems, but they have never had equal access to the resources they need to reach their full potential or build resilience to looming climate threats.”
“As the climate crisis accelerates, women’s vital role in their economies is too important to overlook. With the right financing and marketing support, women smallholder farmers could earn more in a day than they currently earn in a month, ultimately transforming these regional food systems and unlocking a healthier, more sustainable, and more prosperous future for families and communities across the continent.”
Following its commitment, the foundation will invest $4 million over four years in both short-term projects and long-term plans to support smallholder farmers in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in enhancing their capacity for resiliency and food security.
The funding will be used primarily to support African-led innovation that will create a pipeline of climate-smart agriculture projects, new digital technology applications, climate-smart innovations for small-scale livestock farming, and assistance for female small-scale farmers to realize their unrealized potential.
The foundation is strengthening its existing collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development in order to better the lives of rural women in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
The co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates, also said, “The climate crisis is causing enormous harm every day as it jeopardizes entire regions of people and economies.”
“More funding is necessary to ensure agricultural and technological innovations are widely available to vulnerable communities, helping them to adapt to climate change, save lives and increase economic growth.”