The world’s richest man, Bill Gate has launched a campaign to help extremely poor families in sub-Saharan Africa by giving them chickens.
The Billionaire philanthropist says raising and selling the birds can be efficient to tackle extreme poverty in most African homes whose annual income is about $700. He therefore promised to donate 100,000 chickens to encourage farmers because he believes a farmer breeding five hens could earn more than $1,000 (N199,000) a year.
In his blog post, Mr. Gate asked a question;
“If you were living on $2 (N3,98) a day, what would you do to improve your life?
“There’s no single right answer, of course, and poverty looks different in different places. But through my work with the foundation, I’ve met many people in poor countries who raise chickens, and I have learned a lot about the ins and outs of owning these birds. (As a city boy from Seattle, I had a lot to learn!) It’s pretty clear to me that just about anyone who’s living in extreme poverty is better off if they have chickens.”
“In fact, if I were in their shoes, that’s what I would do—I would raise chickens.”
Bill Gate gave reasons why poor Africans should venture into the chicken business and they are:
- They are easy and inexpensive to take care of. Many breeds can eat whatever they find on the ground (although it’s better if you can feed them, because they’ll grow faster). Hens need some kind of shelter where they can nest, and as your flock grows, you might want some wood and wire to make a coop. Finally, chickens need a few vaccines. The one that prevents the deadly Newcastle disease costs less than 20 cents.
- They’re a good investment. Suppose a new farmer starts with five hens. One of her neighbors owns a rooster to fertilize the hens’ eggs. After three months, she can have a flock of 40 chicks. Eventually, with a sale price of $5 per chicken—which is typical in West Africa—she can earn more than $1,000 a year, versus the extreme-poverty line of about $700 a year.
- They help keep children healthy. Malnutrition kills more than 3.1 million children a year. Although eating more eggs—which are rich in protein and other nutrients—can help fight malnutrition, many farmers with small flocks find that it’s more economical to let the eggs hatch, sell the chicks, and use the money to buy nutritious food. But if a farmer’s flock is big enough to give her extra eggs, or if she ends up with a few broken ones, she may decide to cook them for her family.
- They empower women. Because chickens are small and typically stay close to home, many cultures regard them as a woman’s animal, in contrast to larger livestock like goats or cows. Women who sell chickens are likely to reinvest the profits in their families.
At the launch of the campaign in New York, Mr Gates said:
“These chickens are multiplying on an ongoing basis so there’s no investment that has a return percentage anything like being able to breed chickens.”