This hasnt taken root in many other areas of the world, including Africa. We talked to Brigitte Maass about the chances they provide like cattle and what challenges there are in creating them. What’re guinea pigs? Guinea pigs are indigenous to South America. But they aren’t pigs, or from India or Guinea. We prefer to call them cavies. Cavies have many uses. They were domesticated millenniums ago as a little cows species and continue to be farmed. Theyve been used by medical researchers to research diseases and, mostly in western society such as Europe or northern America they’re considered pets.
But they have been used for meat. Plus they are today, all over the Earth, with demand peaking about South American countries such as Peru and Ecuador. Farming may be a profitable enterprise. Some farmers give up dairy farming since raising cavies is cheaper. Their fat is also high in healthful poly unsaturated fatty acids. Cavies might also be eaten as an alternate to bushmeat. A large issue for biodiversity conservation in the forest regions of central Africa. However the most crucial reason is that cavies don’t compete with humans for their food. At any time you raise chickens, for instance, you have to feed them with grains which people could eat.
Cavies are almost like small cows: they nourish on all types of green forage also are quite easy to maintain. They are not fussy about what they eat and likewise don’t fall sick easily.
Finally, they’re shy animals and less inclined to escape such as rabbits may do, which may damage native ecosystems. Are they currently being farmed in Africa? Yes, they’re being farmed in many African nations, and being eaten by millions of individuals. Theres the possibility that missionaries introduce them, but we do not really know when or how they came to Africa. Today they’re reared in various nations including Benin, Cameroon, Cte d’Ivoire, DRC, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, also Togo. However this is not well known and might be because they are predominantly kept in houses or kitchens. However this number is most likely far too low.
We estimate that the DRC has concerning two million cavies, and which there are at least another half million about Cameroon. In nations where cavies are bred to produce meat, weve found which its frequently females also young boys who raise also sell them. And the incomes are utilized to pay school fees. Another extremely valued product from increasing cavies is their manure. Farmers like it since its higher in nitrogen than manure from other livestock, also likewise lighter to carry as its relatively dry.
What should be done to support guinea pig farming as an industry? For decades researchers also producers about South America have improved cavy production also marketing, plus they’re now frequently sold in supermarkets.