Bill Gates foundation announces $9.7 mn aid for Indian farmers

Bill Gates

"Melinda and I believe that helping the poorest small-holder farmers grow more crops and get them to market is the world's single most powerful lever for reducing hunger and poverty," Gates said in Des Moines, Iowa, announcing the new programme.

Gates said the world must draw inspiration from the agricultural transformation in some countries like India in the 1960s to 1980s, known as the Green Revolution, that averted famine, saved hundreds of millions of lives and fuelled widespread economic development. At the same time, he felt, scientists, governments and others must also not repeat the mistakes of the original Green Revolution, such as the overuse of fertilisers and irrigation.

"In India the project aims to mobilize 1,20,000 women into self-help groups to assist them in improving their farm productivity and food security, enhancing their household income," the foundation said.

"The primary aim is to create sustainable farm-based livelihood for rural families in endemically poor regions of India by training women farmers in land and water management and modern farming practices, establishing village extension services and building effective market linkages."

To date, the foundation has committed $1.4 billion to agricultural development efforts across the globe.

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