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Billionaire Bill Gates has pledged a $40 million donation towards research which aims to help ‘poor farmers get as much as possible out of their animals’.
The Gates Foundation together with Britain’s Department for International Development will pump cash into what has been described as ‘innovative agricultural projects’.
The projects could result in creating cows that can produce more milk, chickens who lay better quality eggs, livestock vaccines, and more resistant crops.
According to Gates, who wants to make the livestock vaccines available to the poorest farmers across Africa and South Asia, the project is aimed at helping ‘the poor’.
He said: “If you care about the poor, you should care about agriculture.
“And if you care about agriculture, you care about livestock.
“What that means in this context is helping poor farmers get as much as possible out of their animals.”
Gates has described livestock as ‘a lifeline out of poverty’.
He added: “You can sell the output and that’s money for school fees. You can keep the output and that’s diet diversification.
“For more than a billion people living in the poorest countries, agriculture and livestock are a lifeline out of poverty.
“The science and research being led by the great minds here in Edinburgh are making huge strides in improving the health and productivity of livestock.”
Gates’ plans have been met with mixed reaction.
One social media user said: “Meat and dairy isn’t sustainable with current and growing population, clearly.
“It’s sad an animal is going to be specifically designed and bred in order to feed humans.
“Who says we’re worth more? Plant-based for me, please.”