Opportunity to double or triple food output: Gates

Davos: Citing various developments, including innovations in crop science, as means to improve global food security, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates on Thursday said there is opportunity to double or even triple food production.

Going by estimates, food production would need to double by 2050 to feed a world population, that is projected to touch 9 billion by that time. Gates, who is the co-chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, expressed optimism that food production can be increased.

Innovations in crop science, access to information for farmers and new models of cooperation between governments and private enterprises are some of the developments that can improve global food security, he said at a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum annual meeting here. "I believe the opportunity to double or even triple (food) productivity is there," Gates said.

According to him, it is encouraging to see the issue of food security on the agenda of G-20. Many of the panelists also shared Gates` optimism about global food security.

In his annual letter, Gates had said, "By spending a relatively little amount of money on proven solutions, we can help poor farmers feed themselves and their families and continue writing the story of a steadily more equitable world. Or we can decide to tolerate a very different world in which one in seven people needlessly lives on the edge of starvation."

He had also urged global leaders to invest in innovations that are accelerating progress against poverty, or risk a future in which millions needlessly starve.