Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 21:
The Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment (DOA&FE), Government of Odisha, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further the objectives of improving the lives of smallholder farmers and promoting inclusive agricultural transformation in the state in the presence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Speaking on the occasion, the CM stressed on the state government’s commitment for development of agriculture and allied sectors in the state and expected that it will bring improvement on the livelihood of small and marginal farmers.
The MoU will formalize a partnership between the state government and the foundation to accelerate the state’s agricultural programme and improve the lives of smallholder farmers in Odisha.
The MoU will allow the government and the foundation to partner on agriculture projects including a project to improve data management, analysis and use within the department of agriculture.
Other activities may include expansion of bio-fortified crops in Odisha, generating evidence on policy issues pertaining to farmer’s income, land, women in agriculture, and crop diversification and developing joint programmes on soil diagnostics and agronomic inputs targeting.
The first project to be initiated under the MoU will build a data management system that supports the department of agriculture in using data to make evidence-based policies.
The project will combine data from government sources into a single platform to help the department monitor and improve its work.
It will support the creation of a Technical Support Unit (TSU) within the government to develop the system and train users. The project will be governed by an advisory committee chaired by the Principal Secretary of DOA&FE and will leverage the knowledge of local and global experts in data and agriculture.