Bill Gates visit India for ICAS

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“We can help the world’s two billion small-holders (farmers) adapt to climate change much quicker if everybody in the agriculture sector has access to quality information,” Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said on November 19.

Speaking at the 8th International Conference on Agricultural Statistics (ICAS) in the Capital, Gates said, “Climate change is complicated and requires learning different interventions, including the development of new seeds suiting the changed climatic conditions and make them more available to the poorest farmers.”

“Small landholding farmers are over two billion people out of the whole seven billion of the planet. This is a huge group requiring support. The smallholding farmers’ agricultural output is diminishing because of climate change effects… The good news is that there are lots of innovations to face these challenges.”

The four-day conference is being organised by the agriculture ministry in partnership with the United Nation’s FAO, the US department of agriculture, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other agencies.

At the event, Gates called climate change the biggest challenge at a time when the world needs to increase production and food availability.

“Today, in order to tackle the issues of climate change, we need to double the investment in developing innovative seeds and particularly the seeds publicly available.” Gates stated that soil quality data helps farmers determine what fertilisers to use.

However, there are opportunities to add additional data to the existing one and do detailed soil mapping.

“Better soil, better information and better statistics will help minimise the damage of climate change,” he said.

Presiding over the function, agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar stressed on the importance of agricultural statistics in realising the government’s various agriculture-centric schemes and said the conference would be an enriching experience and hoped that the discussions would result in some policy recommendations.