Bill Gates Has Given Australia's CSIRO $14.5 Million To Improve Crops In Africa

Photo by Pierre Suu/Getty Images

CSIRO has been given a $14.5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve the productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The five-year project will develop tools to generate self-reproducing hybrid cowpea and sorghum crops to help millions of farmers be more self-sufficient with higher yielding crops.

CSIRO will use the money to partner with other research teams in Switzerland, the US, Germany and Mexico.

“Sorghum and cowpea originated in Africa and are important staple food crops, but suffer from low yields,” says CSIRO Project Leader Dr Anna Koltunow in Adelaide.

“Our aim is to develop high-yielding sorghum and cowpea crops from which seeds can be saved and grown by smallholder farmers without loss of yield or quality.”

Hybrids in commercial farming systems can increase yield by 30% or more.

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