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Bill Gates gives Ghent company 5 million to develop anti-mould product

America’s Bill and Melinda Gates are donating 5 million euros to a Ghent-based firm that wants to develop a product against mould on legumes. The mould forms a major issue for African farmers.  Legumes likes peas and beans are an important and affordable food source for the peoples of most African countries.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has asked the Ghent-based company Biotalys to carry out research on mould prevention on legumes for a period of four years.  Toon Musschoot of Biotalys explains the Gateses got in touch with his company because mould on certain legumes that form an important crop in Africa is a major problem.  200 million people in Africa eat legumes on a daily basis.

Biotalys will now analyse several legumes with a view to tackling the mould issue.  “Black-eyed beans are among the crops that will form the object of our company’s research.  This is a kind of bean with a black dot. It is very common in Africa” says Musschoot.

Biotalys’s product could be on the market within eight years.  Bill Gates has asked the Flemish company to market it to African farmers at an affordable price. The anti-mould product should also prove to be useful in Flemish sugar beet cultivation.

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