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NSFC and Gates Foundation Launch a Joint Program for Small-Scale Farmers

Source: Science and Technology Daily | 2022-04-28 14:28:16 | Author: Staff Reporters

AChinese expert team wasguiding mechanized rice harvesting operations in a rice demonstration area in the Central and Western Region of Burkina Faso on Oct. 8, 2021. (PHOTO:XINHUA)

By Staff Reporters

On April 22, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched a joint program to support researchers in developing innovative solutions to climate-related agriculture production in low-income countries. The program focuses on two key areas: climate-smart crop breeding technologies and strategies, and index-based weather insurance. This is a commitment to fund 1 million USD by the NSFC and the Gates Foundation separately.

Climate change is already having a significant impact on agriculture. Farmers are contending with a surge in crop pests and diseases, rapidly rising temperature and extreme weather events. Ensuring these farmers have a steady supply of climate-smart crop varieties is a key component of adaptation.

The program is part of the 2022 Sustainable Development International Cooperation Program (SDIC) launched by the NSFC with a broad set of international organizations, to promote progress towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and support exchanges and cooperation among researchers across different countries to conduct scientific research in response to global challenges.

At the Gates Foundation, agriculture research is a cornerstone of a long-term effort to fight hunger and poverty and support gender equality by investing in the small-scale farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, vulnerable regions where most people depend on small-scale agriculture to support their families.

"We're excited to see the NSFC strengthen its commitment to supporting research targeting the adaptation needs of small-scale farmers," said Enock Chikava, Interim Director for Agricultural Development at the Gates Foundation. "We understand that the world cannot end hunger and poverty without a significant global effort focused on agriculture adaptation in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia."

China has considerable experience and expertise in developing climate-resilient agricultural products and techniques. Through this new partnership, the NSFC and the Gates Foundation will attract more Chinese scientists to join international collaborations committed to building climate resilience in vulnerable agriculture-dependent regions.

"Healthy, sustainable and green agriculture is crucial to realizing UN SDGs. Addressing the common challenges of agriculture demands our joint efforts. As NSFC's first joint funding opportunity in agricultural research with the Gates Foundation, this new program is well-placed to facilitate international collaborations and encourage Chinese researchers to contribute their knowledge and expertise, so as to tackle related scientific problems that developing countries are facing," said Prof. Xincheng Xie, Vice President of NSFC.

"Agriculture research is the key to providing a wealth of innovative, sustainable solutions that can empower millions of people with what they need to live healthy, productive lives," said Dr. Zhijie Zheng, Director of the China Country Office at the Gates Foundation. "This new program builds on our long-term partnership with the NSFC, directing China's expanding capacity for innovation to support small-scale farmers around the world."

The joint program will fund up to four proposals, with no more than two proposals in each of the two key areas. Each proposal, if selected, will be funded up to 250,000 USD by the NSFC and the Gates Foundation separately.

Editor: 畢煒梓

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