Bill Gates and Carlos Slim, who control the world’s two largest fortunes, inaugurated a bioscience center in Mexico that will conduct research to improve wheat and corn seeds to fight hunger.
“Of the three principal crops with which we feed ourselves, rice, wheat and corn, the key work on two of them is done here and it’s fantastic to see the renovation that has taken place here,” Bill Gates said during Wednesday’s inauguration ceremony.
Mexico’s non-profit International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, or CIMMYT, was expanded with a $25 million grant from the Fundacion Carlos Slim.
“The new bioscience complex will allow researchers to speed the development of valuable seed, by way of more precise characterization of its genetic traits, such as heat and drought tolerance, disease and pest resistance, and seed health, as well as the nutritional and industrial quality of the grain,” the Fundacion Carlos Slim said in a statement.
The CIMMYT’s renovation was its first makeover since being founded during the Green Revolution in the 1960s.
“This alliance to promote research and development by CIMMYT, with the collaboration of national and international scientists dedicated to improved seed and generating more efficient techniques, is a step toward making this knowledge available to farmers everywhere, particularly small- and intermediate-scale farmers, as well as promoting economic growth, employment, and food self-sufficiency and exports from this sector,” Slim said during the ceremony.
The CIMMYT, which has its headquarters in Mexico and field offices in China, India, Afghanistan, Colombia, Ethiopia and Turkey, has developed different corn and wheat varieties that are more resistant and produce higher yields.