Monday, July 06, 2009

Warren Buffett's Son Farms in Africa

Howard Buffet is a down-to-earth Illinois soybean and corn farmer with an ambitious agenda to end world hunger.

The middle child of billionaire Warren Buffett, Howard, has spent a small part of his father’s fortune for philanthropy. For the past four years, Howard has spent a decent amount of time traveling through Africa, coming up with ideas to help poor farmers increase crop yield to feed their families as well as reducing the world’s food shortage. His foundation has allocated about $38 million this year to developing a disease-resistant sweet potato, encouraging poachers to switch to farming, provide micro credits, and helping farmers market their crops to United Nations’ hunger-relief programs. Howard is also working on a project to give African corn breeders access to Monsanto’s biotechnology for drought-tolerant corn.

Howard believes that getting Africa to feed itself is challenging because of the geography of the land and the education level and poor financial conditions of the farmers. So, he strives to develop ways for African farmers to increase their harvests without elevating costs, thus his interest in developing crops that resist disease and drought.

(Mr. Buffett travels from Ghana to Togo to Benin, trying to spread approaches to farming that he's found successful on his Illinois farm.)

-- Jaimie Hwang

Read more about Howard Buffett here.

Source: Wall Street Journal