One of the richest men in the world was at Easter Bush last week to announce funding to help lift the world’s poorest people out of poverty.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates was speaking at an event to launch the University of Edinburgh’s Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security, showcasing how research is ensuring healthier, more productive animals for farmers in the UK and around the world.
The Gates Foundation announced an additional $40 million over five years for the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines, a public-private partnership based at the Bush Estate, which develops livestock vaccines, medicines and diagnostics and makes them accessible and affordable to millions of the poorest farmers across Africa and South Asia.
Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said: “The Scottish Global Health Collaborative is a really smart idea. We know from the Ebola outbreak that a health crisis somewhere can soon become a health crisis everywhere.
“Expertise from countries like the UK was critical in containing that outbreak. And it was great to hear how the experience and ideas that Scottish health workers are bringing back from their work in Africa is being used to improve the health service here in Scotland.
“The contribution being made by participants in the programme will make a significant difference in the lives of the world’s poorest.”
The UK Government’s Department for International Development announced £90m for the CGIAR over three years. Previously known as the Consultative Group for International Agriculture Research, since 2010 it has been known simply as the CGIAR. The role of the CGIAR is to deliver new agricultural technologies to support food and nutrition security and growth. Access to high-yielding, drought, heat and disease-resistant crops and livestock underpins the livelihoods and incomes of poor farmers and is essential to combat hunger and reduce the risks of crop failure.
In addition, The Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health, a joint venture between The Roslin Institute at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Scotland’s Rural College and the International Livestock Research Institute, will receive £4 million from the UK government.
The centre has two main nodes, one at the Bush Estate and one in Nairobi, Kenya.
The University of Edinburgh’s Global Academy for Agriculture and Food Security is a major research and teaching initiative focused on safeguarding the future of the world’s food supplies.
In addition to world-class research, the Global Academy will offer undergraduate and postgraduate training, educational activities and resources to equip future leaders with the skills and knowledge required to tackle this challenge.
More than 1.3 billion people depend on livestock for their livelihoods, but rearing livestock in developing countries is challenging. Diseases in livestock reduce farmers’ incomes and can pose serious risks to human health. One quarter of the animals owned by poor farmers are lost from preventable and treatable illnesses.