10/25/2011 01:25 pm ET | Updated Dec 24, 2011

Bill Gates Wins World Food Program Award For Work With Small Farmers

Bill Gates' efforts to fight hunger earned him a World Food Program award Monday, but the billionaire philanthropist isn't feeling complacent. He urged the international community to "wake up" and to keep donating to those in need.

The World Food Program USA gave the chairman of Microsoft, and Howard Buffett, the George McGovern Leadership Award for their empowering small farmers in developing countries to combat poverty and hunger, according to the Gates Foundation. While accepting the honor at the Department of State, Gates said he's going to call on world leaders at the upcoming G20 Summit in Cannes, France to continue working to put an end to hunger, according to Reuters.

"It's unconscionable for a famine of this magnitude to be happening in 2011," Gates said of the famine raging in Africa on his foundation's website. "The world has the knowledge, tools, and resources to help the world's poorest overcome hunger and extreme poverty."

The Purchase for Progress program, founded by Gates and Warren, helps small-scale farmers serve as suppliers for the World Food Program and to also sell crops to private companies.

The Gates Foundation has committed $1.8 billion to aiding Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia farmers, but many other world leaders haven’t lived up to the same commitment. Though some of the most affluent nations pledged to increase their funding for agricultural development in poor countries in 2009, Gates said just half of what was promised funds had been received, according to Reuters.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Warren Buffett won the award along with Bill Gates. Howard Buffett and Bill Gates were honored by the World Food Program on Monday.

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