Visakhapatnam: Expressing concern over the farming crisis, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Friday asked Mr Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), to offer support in agriculture, nutrition and health sectors of Andhra Pradesh, and help the state government develop a model for tech-based agriculture, healthcare and sanitation.
The Chief Minister said that AP was focussing on expanding the horticulture cultivation in the country. “The area under horticulture crops in the state is about 40 lakh acres and we are planning to extend this to one crore acres”, the Chief Minister said. Stating that the farming sector was in a crisis, he said deployment of technology and best practices can help revive agriculture.
More than 1,500 global leaders from 61 countries including business heads, start-up founders, leading policymakers, progressive farmers, NGOs, agriculture and technology experts participated in the summit that panned over three days. “A total of 259 innovative ideas were highlighted and discussed in the farming sector and it was the best result of the summit”, Mr Naidu said.
During the interaction session between Mr Naidu and Mr Gates, the CM said that the farming crisis in India was triggered by low production due to various reasons. Replying to a query posed by Mr Gates, Mr Naidu explained that AP government has been making its best efforts to minimise the usage of the fertilisers by promoting organic farming. “We have also been chalking out plans that will give top priority for farming. We will constitute a committee in which I will be the chairman. I request you to be the honorary chairman,” the Chief Minister said. He added that a model thus evolved can be a role-model for developing countries. Mr Gates said that they would consider the requests of Mr Naidu and would take a decision soon.