Microsoft founder Bill Gates has called on UN food agencies to do more to help poor farmers.

Gates also suggested setting up a kind of accountability "report card" system for countries receiving aid, according to AP.

"Without the score card, donors tend to fund fad-oriented, short-order things," Gates told a forum of the International Fund for Agricultural Development in Rome.

Gates is the founder of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, based in Seattle, which has spent $2bn (£1.25bn) over the past five years to fight poverty and hunger in Africa and Asia.

"We realised that many of the poorest people in the world were small farmers," he said, explaining why he advocated high-tech methods of plant breeding.

"Such techniques can make the difference between suffering and self-sufficiency," he said.