LA PAZ (Reuters) - The Bolivian government rejected on Wednesday a donation of hens offered by U.S. billionaire Bill Gates, as officials said the tech magnate needs to study up on the Andean nation's thriving poultry sector.

"How can he think we are living 500 years ago, in the middle of the jungle not knowing how to produce?" Bolivian Development Minister Cesar Cocarico told journalists. "Respectfully, he should stop talking about Bolivia."

The Microsoft founder and philanthropist recently said he would donate 100,000 hens to countries with high poverty levels, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa but including Bolivia.

Bolivia produces 197 million chickens annually and has the capacity to export 36 million, the local poultry producing association said.

(Reporting by Daniel Ramos; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Sandra Maler)