Monday, January 28, 2008

Il les Gate

"At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Mr. Gates, the chairman of Microsoft, intends to announce $306 million in grants that aim to provide the rural poor with better seeds, healthier soil and access to new markets for their crops, the foundation said Thursday. Three-quarters of the world’s poorest people live in the countryside. The grants to be announced Friday by the foundation will bring its total for agriculture to $660 million, and it says it will increase the total to $900 million by next year.

Rather than see the benefits of projects captured by better-off farmers, as in some past projects, the nonprofit groups receiving Gates foundation grants will focus on poor women because studies have found that they are more likely to use gains in income to educate their children and improve their families’ well-being.

Instead of counting on free markets to generate opportunities spontaneously, the nonprofit groups managing some of the grants will intervene to help farmers form groups to sell goods in bulk and provide them with access to the agronomic advice, processing facilities and transportation they need to take advantage of growing markets for products like milk and coffee." (Thanks Anna and D.)

Not counting on the free market... a first in development work

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