Welcome to WikiCavy!



WikiCavy




The Cavy Project

WikiCavy will help in management, planning and knowledge sharing of the project Harnessing husbandry of domestic cavy for alternative and rapid access to food and income in Cameroon and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo supported by the CSIRO-AusAID African Food Security Initiative.

We will use WikiCavy to improve the information flow between ourselves, more specifically:
  1. Update each other on current activities (Project news)
  2. Archive project documents for easy access (background, publications in progress, minutes, presentations etc.)
  3. Collect and share information on cavies (Cavy publications; Cavy news & media) and network with institutions and individuals that engage in cavy research and development (Cavy organisations)
  4. Plan meetings and workshops (Meeting & workshops)


Project partner institutions include the BecA Hub at ILRI and CIAT (Africa), the University of Dschang—School of Agriculture (Cameroon), and Université Evangélique en Afrique (UEA)—Faculty of Agriculture and Environment Sciences in Bukavu (Sud-Kivu Province, DRC). Collaboration with governmental and non-governmental institutions and other stakeholders will be engaged with in Cavy Innovation Platforms.

The project started in the field in April 2012 and ended in December 2013. In late 2013, a concept note for a new project phase has been developed, which will be further elaborated in early 2014.

CavyExtension_Emmanuel1.jpg
Illustration of cavy benefits by Emmanuel Cishugi Buhendwa, Bukavu

Domestic cavy are widely used as meat animal in a broad belt of sub-humid Africa, especially in mid altitude highlands. Little is known about cavy production systems and productivity, genetic diversity, feeding systems, or consumption habits of people. In fact this small animal of South American origin is usually ignored in livestock censuses.

In eastern and central Africa, their utilization appears to be well accepted in various cultures; thus, cavies are fully available for better family nutrition, being also used for income generation, especially by women and children. This project aims at improving and harnessing cavy production to provide alternative and rapid access to food and income in Cameroon and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Specific objectives of the project include:
  1. Livelihood analysis and strategy development for cavy production (focus on characterization of current cavy production systems in rural and periurban environments, study cavy market value chain(s) from producer to trader and consumer, and establishment of Cavy Innovation Platforms);
  2. Genetic diversity (using SSR molecular makers) and integration of genetic diversity data with various metadata to design sustainable cavy production systems;
  3. Development of improved feeding systems for higher productivity of cavies;
  4. Information gathering and dissemination, and capacity building of partners and other stakeholders in cavy Innovation Platforms.



* When used as lab animal or pet, domestic cavies are usually known as ‘guinea pigs’. We prefer to follow Cumberland’s suggestion in 1886 (cited by Endersby, 2009) because the name ‘guinea pig’ provides a wrong impression of a domestic animal that neither originates from Guinea nor is a pig.
(Endersby, J. 2009. Cavia porcellus: mathematical guinea pigs. In: A guinea pig’s history of biology: the animals and plants who taught us the facts of life. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, pp. 209-250.)