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Bill Gates Visits Odisha, Acknowledges Digital Innovations in Agriculture

Bhubaneswar: In a significant development, Bill Gates, the founder & Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, visited Krushi Bhawan, the headquarters of the Department of Agriculture & Farmers’ Empowerment, Government of Odisha, today.

The distinguished delegation included Alkesh Wadhwani, Director, Poverty Alleviation, India, BMGF, Roger, President, Global Growth & Opportunities, BMGF, and Hari Menon, Director, South & Southeast Asia Country, BMGF.

The Government of Odisha has been collaborating with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since 2017 to advance shared objectives focused on enhancing farmers’ income, ensuring nutrition security, and building climate resilience in the state. This fruitful partnership has positioned Odisha as a pioneer in Digital Public Infrastructure, marked by the launch of key farmer-centric systems, including the Krushak Odisha database, GO-SUGAM portal, and Ama Krushi extension system. With strategic support from the Foundation, the government has successfully executed pilots related to crop diversification through the Maize Mandi and APC projects, subsequently scaling up these initiatives across the state.

The delegation attended a presentation at the Krushi Samiksha Kendra, India’s first centralized monitoring system in agriculture, inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik. The presentation showcased Odisha’s digital public infrastructure, demonstrating use cases enabled for farmers through digital systems, such as pest management, digital extension, on-call artificial insemination, and scheme delivery. Discussions also centered around Odisha’s roadmap for digital agriculture, aiming to become one of the first states to implement an end-to-end technology stack in agriculture, livestock, and fisheries. Gates actively engaged in the demonstration, posing insightful questions.

Post-demonstration, Gates interacted with two successful women farmers in the state who have improved their income and practices through the digital public infrastructure. The delegation also visited the Millets Cafe in Krushi Bhawan, where Dr. Padhee, Principal Secretary, provided an overview of the success story of the Odisha Millets Mission, emphasizing its positive impact on the livelihoods of tribal communities.

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