Bolivia and Bill Gates are beefing over chickens. Gates and Heifer International have teamed up for the Coop Dreams initiative, which aims to end poverty through a gift of 100,000 chickens to countries with high poverty levels. “It’s pretty clear to me that just about anyone who’s living in extreme poverty is better off if they have chickens,” he said on his blog. “In fact, if I were in their shoes, that’s what I would do – I would raise chickens.”
Mostly, Gates picked countries in sub-Saharan Africa. But he also extended the offer to Bolivia, who has come back and basically said: C’mon son. “He does not know Bolivia’s reality to think we are living 500 years ago, in the middle of the jungle not knowing how to produce,” said Bolivia’s Minister of Land and Rural Development César Cocarico, according to the Financial Times. “Respectfully, he should stop talking about Bolivia, and once he knows more, apologize to us.”
The Verge reports that Bolivia already produces 197 million chickens annually, and that they can export up to 36 million a year. While Gates is well-intentioned, Bolivia’s comments make Coop Dreams seem more like a one-size-fits-all effort, instead of something that shows a deeper understanding of Bolivia’s needs.