Microsoft founder Bill Gates today warned that “hundreds of millions of farmers” are already feeling the effects of climate change and encouraged innovate in the sector, at an event of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
“The longer we take to reduce emissions to net zero, the worse the consequences will be” the philanthropist alerted at the 42nd FAO Conference, based in Rome, in the traditional speech in memory of Frank McDougall, one of the founding fathers of this specialized United Nations agency.
Gates stressed that “climate change has cost seven years of growth in agricultural productivity” and that “in the coming decades global warming is expected to increase droughts and floods, reduce productivity and raise prices. “
“It is unfair that the nations that have contributed the least to climate change are now the ones waiting the most for vaccines and the ones most affected by these challenges,” Gates said.
In this sense, he recalled that the impact of COVID-19 could have left as many as “132 million people in poverty” in one crisis that climate change contributes to “complicate” even more, due to the dependence on the primary sector of the less developed countries.
The businessman vindicated the work of the African Union in collaboration with FAO, with farmer aid projects in Kenya from which 1.4 million people have benefited, or a Ethiopian wheat rust early warning system, as examples of innovation against the effects of climate change.
“Small farmers must overcome incredible adversities and must innovate, but they cannot do it alone, they require international solutions “He said, for which he asked the FAO and the rest of the United Nations agencies to “provide technical assistance” to the peasants.
Gates said that if you “use data to find effective interventions and encourage innovation, you can address the issue of climate change and fulfill that vision of Frank McDougall: a world where no child has to grow up hungry. ”