In one his blog post, the Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist wrote that raising chickens would probably be the easiest and simplest way to make money as well as to ensure there is food supply if one is poor.
Below are several reasons why:
They are easy and inexpensive to take care of. Most chicken breeds are able to eat anything they find on the ground. As for hens, they need some kind of shelter for them to nest and protect their eggs.
They are a good investment. Farmers that start with 5 hens and borrow neighbour's rooster to fertilise them can end up with 40 chickens in 3 months. In West Africa, the selling price of a chicken is approximately $5 each. That adds up to an income of $1,000 per year which is a step up from extreme poverty line of $700 a year.
They empower women. Many cultures regard chickens as women's animal as they are small and typically stay close to home. Women who sell chickens are more likely to reinvest the profits in their families.
The Gates Foundation is also working with Dr. Batamaka Somé, an anthropologist from Burkina Faso. In the video below, he explains why is he so passionate about chickens:
Betting On Chickens
The Gates Foundation is betting big on chickens. They are working with partners throughout sub-Saharan Africa to create a sustainable market systems for poultry. Their goal is to help 30% of the rural families in sub-Saharan Africa raise improved breeds of vaccinated chickens, up from just 5% now.