Billionaires Carlos Slim and Bill Gates said they planned to use their foundations to promote research and the development of agricultural technology to increase farmers' productivity and reduce hunger among the world's poor people.
"Helping poor farming families increase production in a sustainable way, and sell more crops, is the most effective way to reduce hunger and poverty over the long term. This has been proven in Mexico, India, Pakistan, Brazil, China, and many other countries over the last half century," the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Fundacion Carlos Slim said in a statement posted on the Mexican billionaire's Web site.
Mexico's non-profit International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, or CIMMYT, will be at the center of the effort to improve farmer's productivity, the foundations said.
"Mexican and international researchers have worked for decades to develop higher-yielding, more resilient seeds for maize and wheat, and to introduce better agricultural practices that help farmers be more productive" at the CIMMYT, the foundations said.
The center, which has its headquarters in Mexico and field offices in China, India, Afghanistan, Colombia, Ethiopia and Turkey, has developed different corn and wheat varieties that are more resistant and produce higher yields.
"Against the dramatic realities of climate change, a growing global population, rising food prices, and a shrinking agricultural land base, Mexico's leadership in agricultural innovation is critically important-especially to the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa where hundreds of millions of people face severe hunger and poverty," the foundations said. EFE