According to Reuters, the Gates Foundation will pump $40m into research for higher-yielding dairy cows, as well as chickens that lay better quality eggs, livestock vaccines and ‘supercrops’ that can withstand droughts or disease.
During the visit Ms Mordaunt also announced plans to develop the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health, which is based in both Edinburgh and Nairobi. The centre uses the most recent scientific advances in genetics and genomics that are being used by farmers in the UK and apply these to help smallholder dairy and poultry farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
The African Chicken Genetic Gains project is on a mission to bring ‘more productive chickens to African smallholders’. Led by ILRI, and backed by the deep pockets of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the African Chicken Genetic Gains project aims to improve the genetic makeup of African chickens. The initiative, which is initially being rolled out in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania, is part of what the Microsoft founder has called his ‘big bet’ on chickens, which also includes a promise to donate 100,000 of the birds to families and communities in the world’s poorest nations. . . .
We will shortly be hosting a virtual discussion forum on ‘Cattle Genomics in Africa’ and invite all researchers and implementers in this and related fields to participate. The forum will be online (web-based), and open from 16–26 Aug 2016.