From ‘cuy' in South America to ‘cavy' in Sub-Sahara Africa: Advancing Development through South-South Cooperation
Brigitte L. Maass1, Lilia Chauca-Francia2, Wanjiku L. Chiuri3, Appolinaire Djikeng4, Felix Meutchieye5, Bruce Pengelly6, Carlos Sere7
1Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Crop Sciences, Germany
Neglected and underutilised livestock species like ‘cuy' or ‘domestic cavy' or ‘guinea pig' (Cavia porcellus L.) play an important role in better nutrition and poverty reduction. Cavy is indigenous in South America and has been introduced to sub-Sahara Africa (SSA), where it has an extensive distribution from Senegal in the West to Tanzania in the East. The remarkable adoption by smallholder farmers and peri-urban dwellers of a simple, apparently suitable technology has not received much international attention. Animals mostly roam freely in the kitchen or house and are kept in a way comparable to the traditional one in South America. In SSA, cavies are a source of meat, a flexible source of cash income – particularly used for schooling expenses – and an appreciated source of manure. In many SSA-countries (e.g., Cameroon, DR Congo and Tanzania), predominantly women and teenage boys engage as cavy keepers and sellers in local markets. Keeping cavies is also used as an alternative to consumption of bushmeat in order to protect wildlife in forest zones; or as part of humanitarian starter kits for displaced people in conflict areas.
Keywords: Gender, guinea pig, humanitarian intervention, livelihood, livestock, nutrition, smallholder agriculture, underutilised species, wildlife conservation, women empowerment, youth participation
Contact Address: Brigitte L. Maass, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Crop Sciences, Grisebachstr. 6, 37077 Göttingen, Germany, e-mail: Brigitte.Maassyahoo.com