Why Bill Gates Wants to Give Away 100,000 Chickens
Bill Gates, the world’s richest man, stood on the 68th floor of 4 World Trade Center in the heart of New York’s financial district Wednesday morning, dispensing advice on a new asset class that promises sky-high returns: chickens.
“There is no investment that has a return percentage anything like being able to breed chickens,” Gates said as a gaggle of 30 birds clucked inside of a coop behind him at the fifth annual Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy. “Our goal here is to take West Africa, where 5% of the households have chickens, and get that up, country by country, to about 30%.”
Bill Gates stands in front of a chicken coop
inside 4 World Trade Center on Wednesday morning.
It’s an ambitious plan, one that could drastically increase nutrition and income levels in one of the most impoverished regions of the world. And in typical Gates fashion, it’s all based on math: A farmer who starts with three hens and one rooster can breed them to have 12 chickens within three months and 250 within a year. One chicken in Africa sells for roughly $5. That means a small starter kit of four birds could yield a yearly flock worth $1,250, a sum twice as high as the extreme poverty line.
Gates is providing the seed capital to get it all going. His foundation invests $400 million in its livestock programs annually and hopes to reach its 30% goal in five years. He has already started work in Ethiopia, investing $7 million to create a massive operation that provides the chicks to get farmers started....MORE