Bill Gates, billionaire and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, gestures as he speaks during a panel session. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

 

Tech magnate Bill Gates is now the biggest owner of farmland in the United States. Bill Gates and his wife Melinda own a staggering 242,000 acres across 18 states.

This aligns closely with Gates’ recent agricultural innovations projects. This includes Gates Ag One, which focuses on research to help “smallholder farmers adapt to climate change and make food production in low- and middle-income countries more productive, resilient, and sustainable.”

Here’s part of an interview Bill Gates on the future of his farming initiatives.

BG: “We’ve been in a lot of funding the research centers that come up with the better wheat seeds, corn seeds, rice seeds. That’s kind of a global public good.

No single country gets all the benefit. And yet it’s often underfunded. Still the scientists are making seeds that deal with less water, deal with heat, yield more per acre. And those are getting out slowly but surely to the farmers employers.

For Africa in particular we’re predicting a 50 percent increase in productivity. That would mean that Africa instead of buying 50 billion dollars of food like it does today, will net be self-sufficient, able to grow as much food as people eat on the continent of Africa.

It’s kind of ironic that the continent where over 60 percent of the people are farmers is buying food from the United States where less than 2 percent of the people are farmers. They’re spending their money to have food be imported. And yet they have lots of land, lots of labor. If we can just get that productivity to be better than that, they won’t be spending their money on food from other countries.”

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*Brief portions of Bill Gates’ statement were edited for clarity.

*Contributions to this content were made by Bloomberg.