Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, recently gave his first major public address on the topic of agriculture development at the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa. Gates discussed the need for the development of agricultural systems that incorporate productivity gains and sustainability.
Gates finished his address with a call for a more farmer-centered and holistic approach to agricultural development, saying,“Poor farmers are not a problem to be solved; they are the solution – the best answer for a world that is fighting hunger and poverty, and trying to feed a growing population. If farmers can get what they need to feed their families and sell their surplus, hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people can build themselves a better life.”
Not surprisingly, Gates highlighted Africa as a region in need of agriculture development. But another region in critical need of agriculture development is right here in our own backyard–México and Central America. There are over 21 million people living in poverty throughout México and Central America. The majority of these people are rural, landless farmers. Landlessness and poverty are intrinsically linked.
Agros International agrees wholeheartedly with Gates that poor farmers are not a problem to be solved, but rather they are the solution. Agros is in the business of helping rural farming communities work themselves out of poverty. The Agros development model bridges the need for technological solutions with the need for true, local sustainability.
Land is a cornerstone of the Agros development model. Once rural families have access to land, Agros agronomists assist them with crop development techniques that take advantage of local conditions, markets, and necessary inputs. Agros works with community members to develop agriculture systems in the village that will be used long after Agros departs.
Not long thereafter, Agros village members become the teachers as they impart that same knowledge to other villages in the region, and to their children, who continue the practice of farming in a profoundly sustainable way.
Agros’ development model is proven. When leaders in the development field talk about the need to find technological yet sustainable solutions to agriculture development, we offer the Agros development model as an example of success.