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Gates Foundation expanding farm grants

  |   Jan. 25, 2008 at 9:38 AM
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SEATTLE, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation says it is expanding its charity work in agricultural development with $306 million earmarked for six farming programs.

The charity plans to invest $900 million in agricultural-related projects by the end of this year, the Wall Street Journal said.

The grants will nearly double the amount to date the Gates Foundation, established by Microsoft tycoon Bill Gates, has given to agricultural projects. They will go toward creating higher quality coffee, rice and better irrigation technologies as well as other projects, the report said.

The largest grant in the latest list of projects is slotted for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, a program aimed at helping small-scale farms in Africa that the Gates charity runs with the Rockefeller Foundation.

Others include $19.8 million to the International Rice Research Institute, which is developing a strain of "stress tolerant" rice, and $27 million to International Development Enterprises, working on low-cost irrigation equipment.

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