The Gates Foundation Awards $35 Million to Cambridge-Led Project for Self-Fertilizing Crops in Africa. The grant, provided by the Gates Foundation’s Agricultural Innovations project, will fund the Engineering Nitrogen Symbiosis for Africa (ENSA) research program over the next 5 years. The project, led by Cambridge University, aims to improve nutrient uptake in food crops, reducing the need for fertilizer in degraded lands.

Gates Ag One CEO, Joe Cornelius, on the Development: “ENSA’s pioneering work is crucial in equalizing opportunities for small-scale farmers in Africa, using cutting-edge crop technology to allow all communities to flourish.” He added that “groundbreaking” progress in crop science and innovation means long-standing challenges such as nutrient absorption and soil health are no longer limiting factors for agricultural growth.

Mr Cornelius on Gates Ag One’s Support: “We’re thrilled to support ENSA in meeting the requirements of small-scale farmers.” Oldroyd, Director of the Crop Science Centre: “African agriculture is facing a turning point, with growing demand and a threatened supply, especially due to a changing climate.”

Oldroyd on Potential Gains: “This work has the potential to bring in gains as significant as the Green Revolution without relying on costly, polluting fertilizers.” On Addressing Poverty: “Sustainable crop production in small-scale farming systems in sub-Saharan Africa directly combats severe poverty.” ENSA Latest in Gates

Ag One Funding: Gates Ag One recently granted funding to ENSA and the Realising Increased Photosynthetic Efficiency project, with Cambridge University as a collaborator. Purpose of Gates Ag One: Gates Ag One, a non-profit subsidiary of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was established to use global crop science to aid small-scale farmers in Africa and South Asia.

The foundation emphasized that “Gates Ag One” aims to equalize the playing field and enable smallholder farmers to improve their agricultural productivity, nutrition security, and climate resilience. It is focused on fast-tracking research that boosts the biological processes of six key food crops: cassava, cowpea, maize, rice, sorghum, and soybean.

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