Bill Gates Gives $27m to Help Small Farmers in India

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates are giving $27 million through their charitable foundation to assist Indian farmers in developing micro-irrigation techniques.

The grant is being routed through International Development Enterprises.

The goal of the project is to assist up to 250,000 smallholder farm families—1.75 million people—in 14 states of India and boost farmers’ income by a minimum of $400 per year, and expand the agricultural economy by $300 million at the grassroots level.

To accomplish this goal, IDE plans to distribute affordable, scalable micro-irrigation systems though a newly-created private sector supply chain, train farmers to use micro-irrigation and link them to high-value crop markets, using their own existing resources.

Bill Gates announced the grants to Indian farmers at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland as part of a $306 million package of agricultural development grants to boost yields and incomes of small farmers in the developing world so they can lift themselves and their families out of hunger and poverty.

Announcing the grants, Bill Gates said: 

If we are serious about ending extreme hunger and poverty around the world, we must be serious about transforming agriculture for small farmers—most of whom are women. These investments—from improving the quality of seeds, to developing healthier soil, to creating new markets—will pay off not only in children fed and lives saved. They can have a dramatic impact on poverty reduction as families generate additional income and improve their lives.

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