This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

Last updated at 15:54 GMT, Monday, 27 February 2012

Call for more help for poorest farmers


27 February 2012

The founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates has said that the international community's efforts to fight hunger and poverty are inefficient and outdated. He said advances made by the digital revolution needed to be harnessed to help the world's poorest farmers more effectively.

Alan Johnston

Bill Gates

The founder of Microsoft Bill Gates.


Click to hear the report


Mr Gates said more needs to be done to support poor farmers in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. He said there was a lack of coordination between governments, aid donors and the UN's agencies, like the World Food Programme. Mr Gates called for the setting up of what he called a "public score card" system.

This would make it easier to tell how well, or how badly, different countries and agencies were performing in the fight to reduce poverty.

He said the effort to help small farmers also needs to harness the power of advances made in digital technology. In an age when satellites can tell instantly exactly how much wheat is in a field, he said, it was a shame that people were still being sent out with pen, and paper and tape measures to try to do the same job.

Mr Gates said that the stakes couldn't be higher for the families of poor farmers. If they don't benefit from the fruits of the digital revolution they will fall far behind. But Mr Gates believes that if they can be connected to some of the latest breakthroughs in science they will have a chance to leapfrog forward.


Click to hear the vocabulary



organising work efficiently



setting up


score card

a piece of paper or document that a score can be officially recorded on


control and make use of

digital technology

modern and up-to-date equipment

a shame

sad or disappointing

the stakes

the risks (sometimes financial)

the fruits of

the achievements or successes of


get to a higher position by missing out some stages

Latest reports

  1. Home
  2. Grammar, Vocabulary & Pronunciation
  3. Words in the News
  4. Call for more help for poorest farmers