Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates thinks that rearing chicken could help eradicate poverty in Africa and other poor parts of the world, effectively tackling one of the worst problems on the globe.
The Microsoft founder has launched a campaign to donate 100,000 chickens that will help families to earn more than $1,000 a year and keep them above the $700 poverty line.
According to the World Bank, more than a billion people currently live below the global poverty line, earning less than $2 a day.
Speaking in front of chicken pecking and clucking in a New York City skyscraper, Gates said, raising the birds can help families bootstrap their way out of poverty and also hedge against malnutrition.
The chicks will go to rural areas in two dozen developing countries from Burkina Faso to Bolivia, where the Heifer International charity manages breeding operations and distribution, according to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The foundation said a farmer breeding 250 chickens a year could make $1,250.
“There’s no investment that has a return percentage anything like being able to breed chickens,” Gates said.
“It’s like the classic thing of teaching somebody how to fish. If you don’t live near water then it’s pretty hard to fish. But the parable could have been stated in terms of giving somebody a chicken and showing them how to raise chickens.”
He said he aimed to boost household chicken ownership in places such as West Africa, where it is now 5 percent, to 30 percent.
Gates made his announcement on the 68th floor of a new building at the World Trade Center, a site not typically used for showcasing chickens, Reuters quoted him saying.
According to the United Nations, an estimated 800 million people live in extreme poverty, with those in fragile and conflict-torn states suffering the most.