Odisha Govt, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ink MoU to support sustainable agriculture transformation

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Bhubaneswar: The Government of Odisha, through the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, Fisheries and Animal Resources Development, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation today signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) to advance their partnership to support sustainable and inclusive agriculture transformation. This will improve the lives and livelihood of small and marginal farmers in the State.

With this signing, the Department envisages strengthening its programmes by accessing expertise, technology, and high-impact innovations. There will be endeavour to bring sustainable production, food quality improvement, reduce vulnerability to drought, pest, and other climate-related risks through advanced soil and water resource management. The creation of marketing efficiency is also focused. Gates Foundation will also support accelerating data use and policy implementation to build a vibrant, climate-smart, and integrated farming economy to serve marginal and landless farmers of the State.

Under the visionary leadership of Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik, the Government is accelerating the growth potential of State’s agricultural sector.

The Fisheries & ARD Department is supporting the comprehensive socio-economic development of small-scale producers in the fisheries and animal resources sectors by programmes to grow incomes and improve animal health. Gates Foundation and its partners will provide technical support to the Department in the design and implementation of programmes in which there will be emphasis upon data systems, technology development, and private sector partnerships.

Hon’ble Minister, Agriculture & Fartners’ Empowerment, Fisheries & ARD and Higher Education Dr. Arun Kumar Sahu said that our Government has adopted an integrated approach to manage farmland, livestock, forests, and fisheries, that address the interlinked challenges of food security and climate change. Reiterating the Government’s commitment for quality life of our farmers, especially landless labourers, smallholders, and women, the Hon’ble Minister hoped the partnership with the Gates Foundation will bring in best global practices, state-of-the-art technology, and innovations for the improvement, empowering the farmers with information and partnership services.

Shri Alkesh Wadhwani, Director of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said, that Gates Foundation is honored to continue strong collaboration with the Government of  Odisha towards improving the livelihoods of smallholder producers. The foundation has been working closely with the Government of Odisha in developing data-based decision systems for agriculture, fisheries, and animal resources sectors; diversification to high-value crops; strengthening FPOs and shaping inclusive markets; digital extension; predictive technology, and integrated farming. With the signing, the foundation will catalyze and move forward multi-stakeholder partnerships and innovations that drive nutritional security,   environmental sustainability,   climate adaptation, and economic opportunity, in an integrated and inclusive way for smallholder agriculture. It will continue supporting the Government by bringing solutions and expertise to address their most challenging issues, he assured.

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