MICROSOFT founder Bill Gates has announced funding for innovative agricultural research in Edinburgh.
Mr Gates joined International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt for an event with staff and students at the University of Edinburgh.
The Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation has funded research into improving livestock health.
Meanwhile the UK Government has announced funding for crop research and innovation, alongside a cash boost for scientific research into livestock genetics.
The investments are aimed at helping to lift people in developing countries out of hunger and poverty.
The Gates Foundation is providing 40 million over five years for the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed), a public-private partnership which develops livestock vaccines, medicines and diagnostics and makes them accessible and affordable to millions of the poorest smallholder farmers across Africa and South Asia.
Mr Gates said: “In short, if you care about the poor, you should care about agriculture.
“And if you care about agriculture, you should care about livestock.
“What that means in this context is helping poor farmers get as much as possible out of their animals.”
He added: “I am proud of the work our foundation has done with UK researchers. So far, we’ve invested more than 1 billion in UK research institutions.
“And today, I am very pleased to announce that we’ve committed an additional 40 million to GALVmed to continue its work on preventing livestock diseases.”
The UK Government is to provide £90 million over three years to international research organisation CGIAR.
The cash will be used to help fund research into the creation of ‘super-crops’ which are more nutritious and disease resistant.
Ms Mordaunt said: “Unpredictable flooding, plant diseases and drought are threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of farmers in Africa who struggle to grow enough crops to put food on the table – the urgency of the task is clear.
“That’s why UK aid is supporting British scientists to develop new crops that are more productive, more nutritious and more resistant to droughts and flooding, as well as creating new medicines to protect cattle and poultry from devastating disease.
“New ideas, cutting-edge science and innovative partnerships with organisations like the Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation will help Britain create a healthier, more secure and prosperous world for us all.”
Ms Mordaunt also announced a £4 million boost from the Department for International Development for the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH) which is based in both Edinburgh and Nairobi.
The centre, a joint venture by Edinburgh University, Scotland’s Rural College and the CGIAR, is carrying out research aimed at improving the health and productivity of livestock in tropical climates.
While in Edinburgh, Mr Gates was also due to meet First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and hear a presentation on work being carried out as part of the NHS Global Citizenship Programme.
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