A cow that can produce huge amounts of milk and that endures the African heat.
This is the latest project that Bill Gates has funded to create a so-called “super cow”, an animal with more health and better performance to fight poverty, especially in Africa.
As reported by the BBC, the co-founder of Microsoft, through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has invested 40 million dollars (32.1 million euros) in GALVmed (Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines), a non-profit organization. GALVmed is an Edinburgh-based profit that researches animal genetics, as well as vaccines and medicines for livestock.
In particular, the organization is carrying out studies that would help create cows with improved genes for excellent milk production, but also with the ability to survive under the scorching sun of Africa.
Today, livestock on the continent must cope with unpredictable floods, plant diseases, and drought.
That is why the idea of GALVmed also involves developing new crops that are more productive, more nutritious and more resistant to arid lands, as well as the creation of new medicines to protect livestock from devastating diseases.
Gates is scheduled to travel to Scotland as soon as the Davos Forum is concluded, where he assured that “for millions of people living in the poorest countries of the world, agriculture and livestock represent a lifeline to escape poverty”.
In this regard, the philanthropist said that “science and research led by great minds are making great progress in improving the health and productivity of livestock.”
“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s investment will help GALVmed to make vaccines, medicines, and diagnostics accessible to millions of the world’s poorest small farmers,” he said.
Growing crops and maintaining healthy livestock is a major issue in Africa. In fact, millions of farmers, small farmers, in Africa, who solely depend on agriculture to put food on the table for their families struggle with growing enough crops, mostly because of the climate and a number of natural disasters.
Edinburgh’s tropical livestock genetics chief, Appolinaire Djikeng, said: “A lot of work like this started many years ago. It’s been a hit-and-miss thing though.
“We can now look at the parts of genomes we really need.”
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who announced the research to the world, said:
“Unpredictable flooding, plant diseases and drought are threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of farmers in Africa who struggle to grow enough crops to put food on the table – the urgency of the task is clear.”
“That’s why UK aid is supporting British scientists to develop new crops that are more productive, more nutritious and more resistant to droughts and flooding, as well as creating new medicines to protect cattle and poultry from devastating disease.”
“New ideas, cutting-edge science and innovative partnerships with organisations like the Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation will help Britain create a healthier, more secure and prosperous world for us all.”
Although it is not clear how exactly those cows will be created, Gates has proposed to create them by artificial insemination.