Rome — New technologies are the key to helping Africa and Asia’s smallholder farmers adapt to climate change, said the Gates Foundation as it pledged funding to research new crops that can thrive amid rising heat, drought and erratic rainfall. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation unveiled a $300m plan to help farmers on Tuesday, with funds going to the development of crops that could cope with rising temperatures, wild weather and attacks from new pests and diseases. Smallholders produce up to 80% of food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Many are reliant on rain-fed agriculture and are extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, which is expected to hit crop yields and make the price of food more volatile, the FAO said in a 2016 report.

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