They are small, less expensive, rich in proteins and multiply very rapidly. Yet most Africans and more precisely Cameroonians are unaware of the role these little ruminants can play in enriching the diets of their households. Cavy better known by its common name as “Guinea pig” is a small ruminant that has the potential of becoming an alternative and rapid source of food and income, thus uplifting the livelihood of families in countries like Cameroon, the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. This, amongst other issues was at the center of the just ended Cameroon Cavies Innovation platform partners' workshop which held from the 24th to the 25th of February 2015 at the International conference hall of the G.I.E-UDs (Groupement d'interet Economique) at Campus “A” of the University of Dschang.
The workshop which was supported financially by Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa hub - The International Livestock Research Institute (BecA-ILRI Hub), the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), as well as Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), brought together close to 27 participants amongst whom were Farmers, NGO's, researchers and policy makers from within the nation and abroad.
In his welcome speech during the opening session of the workshop, the Director of the G.I.E-UDs, Pr Martin TCHAMBA elaborated on the vocation of the University of Dschang which is essentially rural, for being the pioneer in higher Agricultural training in the Sub Central African Region. He also spoke about the missions of the University which include training, research and contribution to development, while reminding the participants that the cavy project will permit the GIE-UDs to catalyze and render operational many innovations. The coordinator of the cavy project in Cameroon Mr. Felix MUETCHIEYE on his part, stressed on the fact that the workshop had as objectives:
- To use the integrated research approach to improve the production and livelihood of families,
- To build capacities across the value chain and,
- To evaluate the outcome of the first phase and build a strong partnership for the second phase of the project.
Participants were also treated on the cavyland concept initiated by the coordinator of the N.G.O- AEAC, Mme Ursule MEKONGO, which aims at promoting the consumption of cavy meat in households and the roasting of cavy meat in the streets just like the cases of chicken fish, goat and cow meat.
At the end of the workshop, participants separated with detailed resolutions on the priorities of the project after brainstorming on the results chain of the next phase of the cavies' project, as well as the strategies to be implemented for an optimal impact. It is worth noting that at the level of the University of Dschang the cavy project has produced 10 masters and engineers, with 05 PHD's on the way, more than 25 communications on the project, 3 pilot production farms and 4 regional innovation platforms which are currently functional.
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