Bhubaneawar, September 21: The Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) 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 to strengthen 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 risk through advanced soil and water resource management. Creation of marketing efficiency is also focused.
Gates Foundation will also support accelerating of data use and policy implementation to build a vibrant, climate-smart and integrated farming economy to serve marginal and landless farmers of the State.
The Fisheries & ARD Department is supporting 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.
Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment, Fisheries & ARD Minister Dr. Arun Kumar Sahu said, “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.”
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Director Alkesh Wadhwani 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 Government by bringing solutions and expertise to address their most challenging issues, he assured.