ROME (AP) — Bill Gates has told U.N. food agencies that world agriculture systems are outdated and inefficient, especially for the small farmers in poor countries they are aiming to help.

Gates brought his campaign to fight poverty and hunger in Africa and Asia to a forum Thursday of the U.N. International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Much of some $2 billion spent over the past five years by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has gone toward improving agricultural productivity in those continents. Gates, foundation co-chair, also announced $200 million in grants.

Gates advocated taking quick advantage of high-tech methods, such as genomic science, to improve plant breeding. He said "use of such techniques can make the difference between suffering and self-sufficiency" for small farmers in developing countries.