Vishakhapatnam, November 18: While Andhra Agtech Summit was underway when the Microsoft Corp. Co-Founder Bill Gates praised Andhra Pradesh for using technology to help farmers. Better seeds, improved livestock breeds, access to markets and tech-based Agri services could hold the key for improving a lot of smallholder farmers and dairy farmers, said Bill Gates while addressing the Agtech Summit.
Agricultural production must increase to improve the lives of small and marginal farmers in the country said Bill Gates. “AP is taking bold steps. I expect we will be accelerating it (technology usage). More than half of India’s population engaged in agriculture, and three-fourths of rural women are engaged in agriculture. Apart from gender equality, research has shown that having more women also increases production by 20 to 30%,” Gates said further.
Further Gates also said that innovation must go from the lab to the field, and lauded India for “becoming a leader” in digital financial inclusion. “We have to be sure that this platform helps (to deal with) challenges that small farmers face,” he said.
The Microsoft co-founder, who is also the co-chair and trustee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), said it was important for farmers to have information about things like soil health and other things.
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, addressing the event, said he was interested in working on agriculture, nutrition and sanitation under the guidance of Gates. CM Naidu also informed that his government had received 259 innovative ideas during the three-day Agtech summit in Visakhapatnam from participants. “Sixty one countries have participated in the summit, and so many youngsters have come with ideas,” he said.
“India faces challenges of population, malnutrition and climate change. In AP, you have a great believer (Naidu) in smart technology. It is a pivotal moment for the state, and agricultural transformation here can be a model for India,” said Gates.