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Gates Foundation, Qatar to spend $200 million on climate-adaptive agriculture

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Major gas producer Qatar and the Gates Foundation will jointly invest up to $200 million over the next two years to help prepare farmers in developing countries to adapt to climate change.

The new partnership, announced on Sunday at a conference in the Gulf Arab state, focuses on introducing climate-adaptive farming methods and technology to communities that depend on agriculture for both food and income, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, said Mark Suzman, chief executive officer of the Gates Foundation.

“We are trying to help those communities grapple with the reality of climate change now and, in a way, help insulate them from the future damages of climate change,” which can pull them deeper into poverty, he told Reuters.

For example, the partnership aims to introduce dual-use chickens, raised for both food and egg production, to low-income women farmers in parts of Africa. The chickens are bred to be productive in a variety of climate conditions.

“Climate change is already happening. We are already seeing more frequent droughts, more frequent floods, less predictable weather,” Suzman said.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a major nonprofit that tackles poverty and inequity. It will fund the partnership on a 50-50 basis with Qatar’s state Fund for Development, Suzman said.

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