Bolivia Turns Down Hen Donation by Bill Gates
The Bolivian government rejected an offer by U.S. tycoon Bill Gates, who said he would donate 100,000 chickens to reduce poverty in developing countries.
Gates, through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said he would send 100,000 chickens to twenty countries, among them Bolivia, as a donation through the Heifer International Organization with the purpose of “reducing poverty” and “improving nutrition” of people in the countrysude.
Bolivian Minister of Rural Development and Land, Cesar Cocarico said this announcement was rude. “Unfortunately the view of some people, especially in ‘the empire,’ still see us as beggars,” said the Cocarico.
“He does not know Bolivia’s reality, he thinks we are living 500 years ago, in the middle of the jungle, not knowing how to produce,” said Cocarico. “Respectfully, he should stop talking about Bolivia, and once he knows more, apologize to us.”
According to the Gates foundation, a farmer raising 250 chickens per year could hypothetically make up to US$1,250 dollars.
“It’s pretty clear to me that just about anyone who’s living in extreme poverty is better off if they have chickens,” said Microsoft’s co-founder Gates in a blog. “In fact, if I were in their shoes, that’s what I would do — I would raise chickens.”
“There is no investment that has a similar rentability percentage than to raise chickens,” said Gates in his statement, after presenting the initiative in New York.
Gates says that these animals are easy and inexpensive to raise, empower women, and can help feed children in poor families, “because chickens are small and stay close to home.”
Bolivia’s government, led by President Evo Morales, says the nation already produces 197 million chickens annually, and has the capacity to export 36 million. The country’s economy has almost tripled in size over the last decade, with its GDP per capita going from US$1,200 in 2006 to US$3,119 in 2015.
The International Monetary Fund predicts that Bolivia’s economy will grow by 3.8 percent in 2016, making it the best performing economy in South America.