(Jun. 20, 2023) — Bill & Melinda Gates Agricultural Innovations (Gates Ag One) and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) are to partner to strengthen research into improving staple crops grown by millions of African farmers.
AATF works across more than 20 countries in Eastern, Southern, and West Africa to develop innovations that address low agricultural productivity and support improved livelihoods for smallholder farmers. For instance, AATF has released five new hybrid rice varieties adapted for African conditions that have increased yields from three tons per hectare to 10 tons per hectare. AATF also coordinated a global partnership towards the development and release of pod borer resistant (PBR) cowpea in three West African countries, which contains a gene that produces a protein lethal to the biggest pre-harvest pest, the Maruca pod borer. With climate change increasing the spread of harmful insects to new areas, the development provided farmers with an additional tool for climate adaptation.
“We’re excited to forge this new partnership with Gates Ag One to build on our efforts and results to date that have contributed significant advances in agricultural productivity across Africa,” said Dr. Canisius Kanangire, Executive Director at AATF.
AATF, which was established 20 years ago, manages Public-Private Partnerships for the transfer of innovative technologies to increase access to the latest innovations by smallholder farmers in Africa. An estimated 65% of the world’s arable land is in sub-Saharan Africa, yet yields are currently only around a third of the global average.
“AATF is a leading player in the sector that works to develop adapt and commercialize agricultural technologies that boost smallholder farmers’ productivity and climate resilience,” said Joe Cornelius, CEO of Gates Ag One. “We’re excited to be partnering with AATF to bring innovations to farmers across Africa to bolster yields and food security.”
Gates Ag One, a non-profit affiliate of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was created to leverage advances in global crop science to serve the growing needs of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. The organization invests in early scientific discoveries to accelerate the development of improved crops that can close the yield gap.
About AATF (www.aatf-africa.org)
AATF is an international not-for-profit organization that is empowering smallholder farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa with a wide choice of agricultural innovations that contribute to food and nutrition security to generate health and wealth for their families and communities. Established in 2003 as an African-led entity, AATF works with public and private partners across the full food value chain to access, develop, deliver and commercialize innovative technologies that bring meaningful change to Africa’s agriculture. AATF is driven by a vision of a prosperous and food secure Africa, one where millions of smallholder farmers can transform African agriculture with the same innovations that are transforming food production around the world. AATF believes the farmers in Africa will become globally competitive through use of the best technology, optimal agricultural practices, strategic product value addition and boosted access to efficient markets within and outside Africa.