Bringing Drought Tolerance to Africa: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Support of Biotechnology

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was launched in 2000, with the merger of the William H. Gates Foundation and the Gates Learning Foundation.

“It’s a charitable foundation that’s based on two very important principles,” says Lawrence Kent, senior program officer. “The first one is that every life has equal value. And the second one is that everyone — no matter where they live — should have the chance to live a healthy and productive life.”

The Foundation’s role in agriculture focuses on developing nations, encouraging farmers to embrace and adopt sustainable practices, to grow more with less.

This week, at the Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference in Saskatoon, Lawrence Kent spoke to RealAgriculture’s Debra Murphy further about the Foundation’s role in agriculture, and specifically the adoption of biotechnology in developing worlds. Kent highlights the trials of drought-tolerant maize in Africa, handling opposition to genetic engineering through public outreach and what he believes to be the most significant factor affecting public perception of genetically modified organisms.

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