Here’s why I’m joining Bill Gates’ “Chicken Revolution”
I was intrigued by Bill Gates’ chicken idea and followed him to his blog (GatesNotes.com), which also referred me to his wife, Melinda’s blog. Both husband and wife convinced me with their argument and I am now infected with their chicken bug.
If you didn’t read my post yesterday, here is the summary.
Bill and Melinda Gates are convinced that the chicken is the “ATM of the poor”.
They are so passionate about the idea that Bill has pledged to provide 100,000 chickens to Africans. He argued that starting with five chickens, a woman can make $1,000 a year, thereby taking her off the extreme-poverty line, which is currently estimated to be $700.
So, Bill, why would you raise chickens?
“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.”
Now let’s break these numbers down:
1. Five hens will give you 40 chickens in three months.
2. Each chicken sells for $5, a reasonable estimate even in Nigeria.
3. So 40 chickens x $5 = $200 every three months.
4. We have four 3 months (quarters) in a year
5. Therefore, 4 x $200 = $800.
So it’s not $1,000 as Bill Gates estimated. But I guess if the offspring of the hens also produce their own chicks, the money would approximate Bill Gates’ figure.
Gates has championed a good deal of ideas to reduce poverty in developing countries – from drinking water made from poop to making high-tech toilets. But this may be his best idea yet.
And it isn’t as if it’s a new idea. In Nigeria here, it’s difficult to find a house in the village which doesn’t keep chickens. But Gates puts a refreshing twist on it by showing us (with concrete numbers) how it can reduce poverty.
I’ve been dreaming of using goats (after crossing local breed with Boar goats from South Africa) for the same purpose. But using chickens appears to be faster, cheaper and not very risky.
In the light of this, we’re going to do a pilot of this idea by giving five chickens each to selected women in Bida. We’re estimating N1, 000 per chicken. Thus, with N5, 000, you can remove one woman from extreme poverty. Let me know if you want to contribute to the project.
What about you? How powerful do you think this idea is in reducing poverty?
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