´So time ago my wife and I work with sheep; we spent more than we actually invested in breed them and sometimes we did not have even for food. One day, I got sick, I had a debt with the bank and in that, time my life was so sad and I did not know what to do. My children suffered the most’, says a nostalgic Bacilo Sutta Quispe from Toqra, in Cusco, Peru. His community and his family were having rough times because of the lack of opportunities since its town is too far from the city.
After his illness and with the little amount of money he had left, he bought baskets with bread, which exchange for cuyes (guinea pigs). That is how he collected a good number of cuyes and began to breed them and then selling them. In the Andes communities, the cuyes breeding is very rudimentary and its production is short due to technical issues. In addition, not all the cuyes characteristics are used as efficiently as they should, since it’s an animal of fast reproduction and growth and its meat is reach in nutrients which fight anemia and malnutrition, frequent health issues in Cusco.
Bacilo’s efforts to breed more and better cuyes were an example for his community, which saw that by raising cuyes there was a business opportunity. However, the lack of technical support was notorious and in that moment they came across with the Food Governability in the Andes region (funded by EU and implemented by Plan International), which was going to help them to improve the production’s quality and quantity, besides the reduction of malnutrition in children.
After the project was establish in the community, Bacilo was elected president of the Cuyes Farmers association, a group of 26 families. ‘Through this project we could create our Inca Cuy association and this help us to be organized. We have chosen our assembly and we have our partners books, we help each other and we are a solo force’, says Bacilo.
Months have gone by and the families began to improve their practices in the cuyes breeding. The huts, which before were in the kitchen, became bigger special spaces, which would allow breeding more cuyes. Besides, the animals did not die anymore since the farmers had learn how to cure them. Now the entire community has better quality and a bigger amount of cuyes.
Today Bacilo feels calm and happy because he works in a traditional activity and he could improve his family’s life and contributed to his community development. ‘Because of the support provided by this project, I’ve had more than two thousand cuyes. Now I do not have any doubts with the bank and we improve the daily food we give to hour children and those boys and girls in schools. The community is thriving. All those sad times are now left behind and we have now many hopes for the future’.