Bhubaneswar: A workshop on Technical Assistance under DAFE & BMGF (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation) partnership for Inclusive Agriculture Transformation and Programme Advisory Committee Meeting of ADAPT was held under the chairmanship of Hon’ble Minister, Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment Dr Arun Kumar Sahoo at Krushi Bhawan in Bhubaneswar.
Dr Saurabh Garg, Principal Secretary, DAFE, M Hari Menon, Director, India Country Office, BMGF, Dr Purvi Mehta, Head of Asia, Agriculture, BMGF, R Raghu Prasad, Commissioner cum Secretary, FARD attended the workshop. Among others Dr M Muthukumar, IAS, Director, Agriculture & FP, Dr Bijay Ketan Upadhyaya, IAS, Director, Horticulture, Smt Nidhi Nath Srinivas, Senior Program Officer, Agriculture, BMGF, Dr Enok Chikava, BMGF, Dr Christian Witt, BMGF, Stewart Collis, BMGF, Additional Secretary, Dr Banani Mohanty, Dr Prabhat Raul, Dean Extension, OUAT ADAPT team were some of the participants.
The half-day workshop covered areas including Digital Farmer Services, Soil Information Systems, Smart Farming, building a livestock masterplan, and creating a network of business support units for smallholders on the lines of KVKs.
Dr Garg, in his introductory speech, welcomed the officials and threw light upon the fruitfulness of having the partnership with BMGF and how it has helped shaping the livelihood of farmers of Odisha. He also addressed the importance of technology, the use of data analytics and advisory service which will leverage the agri-sector in Odisha. The former Agriculture policy of the state was more input based. However, the new agriculture policy focuses on post-harvest management, FPOs, Value additions, Organic farming, and utilisation of technology to negate distress.
From BMGF, Dr Purvi Mehta stated that the progress on various projects with DAFE is very much encouraging. She focused on Co-designing, Co-evaluation and Cohesiveness to bring in more for the agriculture and allied sector. The meeting was followed by presentations from department and BMGF.
Dr Sahoo in his address emphasised on inclusive growth rather than selective growth of farmers of Odisha. The key areas of focus would be technical assistance, market linkage, and farmers’ awareness. He also highlighted the KALIA scheme which is exhaustive and one of its kind throughout the nation and explained about the current 5T Mantra functioned in the state which is helping the officers achieve their goal in an effective and efficient way.
Dr Muthukumar in his brief presentation shared some of the cutting-edge innovations such as in seed traceability, soil mapping, and KALIA scheme that have the potential to become exemplars within and outside India.
The Team BMGF also shared a presentation on usage of technology, Smart farming and Soil intelligence. They enhanced upon how to take forward the partnership to double the farmer’s income. Presentations on Business support Unit network by Dr Nayak, XIMB, Presentations on Livestock Master Plan by Dr Srivalli Krishnan, BMGF
The workshop was followed by Program Advisory Committee meeting to review assigned sand executed project to the ADAPT team and approve its workplan for next year. In his concluding remark Dr Garg asked to work on livestock master plan, expand the DSS (Decision Support System) to Fisheries and Animal resource and thanked all the guests and participants.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has been assisting the Department of Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment, for improving the delivery of services to farmers by use of digital methods and data-driven decision support system. The MoU with BMGF was signed in the presence of Hon’ble Chief Minister on 21.04.2017. The Foundation immensely values the knowledge partnership with the Government of Odisha since 2017, on smallholder-led inclusive agricultural transformation.