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An Open Letter to Bill Gates on Food, Farming, and Africa

Dear Bill Gates:

You were recently featured commenting on the global state of agriculture and food insecurity, in a recent New York Times op-ed by David Wallace-Wells and also in an Associated Press article.

In both articles, you make a number of claims that are inaccurate and need to be challenged. Both pieces admit that the world currently produces enough food to adequately feed all the earth’s inhabitants, yet you continue to fundamentally misdiagnose the problem as relating to low productivity; we do not need to increase production as much as to assure more equitable access to food. In addition, there are four specific distortions in these pieces which should be addressed, namely: 1) the supposed need for “credit for fertilizer, cheap fertilizer” to ensure agricultural productivity, 2) the idea that the Green Revolution of the mid-20th century needs to be replicated now to address hunger, 3) the idea that “better” seeds, often produced by large corporations, are required to cope with climate change, and 4) your suggestion that if people have solutions that “aren’t singing Kumbaya,” you’ll put money behind them.