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 The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) have signed a multi-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for sustainably improving India's livestock sector to support the nation's food and nutritional security.

The MoU aims to protect the economic wellbeing of small-scale livestock producers, the DAHD said, adding, improving animal health and production programmes is to ensure food security and economic development.

The event was organised on Wednesday as a part of ongoing celebrations of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav', a commemoration of 75th year of India's Independence at the Ministry's headquarters, a release from the Ministry said.

Developing the livestock sector envisages strengthening animal husbandry infrastructure, entrepreneurship development and implementing 'One Health' framework. Through this collaboration, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will provide technical assistance for the design and delivery of new technologies and implementation of best practices that are relevant in the local context, the statement added.

Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, Dr K. Vijayaraghavan highlighted the significance of the collaboration and reiterated that the expected outcomes would go a long way in sustainability to improve the livestock sector thereby resulting in economic development.

Secretary, Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Atul Chaturvedi, added "Strengthening the livestock sector is one of the pre-requisites for effective implementation of One Health. This collaboration will strengthen our digital infrastructure, research and development capabilities and bridge the information gap with respect to animal-human interactions among public and private stakeholders."

Addressing the panel at the MOU signing, M. Hari Menon, Director, India Country Office, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said, "The Gates Foundation is honoured to deepen our partnership with DAHD, with the aim of contributing to the Government of India's national goals for sustainable development and improvement of the livestock sector.

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