*QFFD-Gates Foundation project aims at climate adaptation, poverty alleviation
The recently signed project between Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation highlights the commitment of both parties on climate adaptation, poverty alleviation, food security and women empowerment, noted the CEO of Gates Foundation in an exclusive interview with Gulf Times.
“We are very much keen on mitigating the climate change impacts and Qatar also shows keen interest in this area. In addition, we want to empower the rural folks, especially the women farmers to alleviate poverty as well to empower them. This aims to create agriculture transformation leading to better food supply and higher income for the rural population,” Mark Suzman, CEO of Gates Foundation, said.
QFFD and Gats Foundation signed a $200mn project named ‘Nanmo’, or ‘growing together’ ‘on the final day of Doha Forum, held last week.
“The fund will be up to $200mn with each party contributing $100mn over a period of two years in Sub-Saharan Africa. We hope to learn and get some impressive results of the initial investment and then see if we can build up and expand to other regions in future,” Suzman, disclosed.
According him, it is a partnership for access, adaptation, and growth. Nanmo invests in innovative, climate-adaptive agriculture to build resilient food systems and markets that provide nutrition, income, and economic opportunities to smallholder farmers and livestock keepers as well as their communities.
“We are focused on helping those communities disproportionately affected by climate change to deal with its consequences, especially the poorest is a priority for the Gates Foundation. Majority of the poorest living in Sub-Saharan Africa are the rural folk. They depend on agriculture often on small plots of land in parts of the world that is seeing much greater temperature fluctuation with frequent floods or frequent droughts,” explained Suzman.
“We have been prioritising climate adaptation for a while and at CoP 26 in Glasgow, we made a large set of commitments about climate adaptation needs. At the same time, government of Qatar and the Qatar Fund for Development have been also increasing interest in mitigating the climate challenges and how to work with affected communities,” continued the CEO.
The official said that both the Gates Foundation and Qatar have a history of partnerships in many fields. “We have had a history of partnering with some initiatives such as ‘ Lives and Livelihood’ project. So we had some conversations if we could do something together and this resulted in the partnership of Nanmo,” he revealed.
Suzman said that the project was not country specific per se. “We are looking at Africa as a whole and we are focusing mostly on women farmers. We already have done some pilot projects. A 20mn poultry project is successfully going on in Nigeria and Ethiopia. We have got very successful results here. Now we will each invest $10mn to scale it up. The results were very much encouraging and we already see improvements in nutrition, increased income for the farmers through this pilot project,” highlighted, the CEO.
The official said that the pilot project has been going on for about a couple of years and it has empowered the women farmers in a big way.
“We hope the project will transform the lives of the people ensuring food security as well as their income levels. It stimulates economic growth and entrepreneurial activities. We are optimistic that the project will also help the efforts of climate adaptation,” added Suzman.     
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