Guinea pig farming is helping Andean women, children and communities improve their lives, income and confidence to push for change. Women in impoverished or rural Andean communities may struggle or be unable to bring in any income for their families. However, many are starting to utilize guinea pig farming as a form of women’s empowerment and economic growth. With the de-stigmatization of guinea pig meat in the area, increasing demand for guinea pigs in Andean areas is providing a great market for those wishing to find a cost-effective and low-maintenance way to a better life. Multiple women’s rights groups are noticing this opportunity and are helping women recognize their potential and importance.
Women who have started guinea pig farming are noticing large increases in their income, which many have used to better their children’s education and feed their families.
Women are able to have financial independence and fight gender norms without sacrificing time away from their usual household responsibilities. Guinea pig farming is helping Andean women produce additional income in the comfort of their own backyards. The practice also provides additional food security for the family, as guinea pig meat is high in nutritional value.
Organizations Helping Women Lead the Way
Many women in the Andes region find it difficult to find jobs. This is due to their gender and low societal value, especially in poor rural areas. Groups that work towards local investment, poverty reduction and fighting domestic violence have started to use guinea pig farming as a way to inspire women to become independent and see their capabilities.
A U.S. group, World Neighbors, has a program in Peru that has valued the importance of guinea pig farming as a way for women to seek financial independence and take a larger role in reducing poverty. Women under this program have become motivated to break gender norms and solve problems in an environmentally friendly and effective way.
With support from PSSA [Spanish abbreviation for the Strengthening Local Development in the Highlands and High Rainforest Areas Project], the Cerrito de San Bartolo Productive Association has been able to set up a guinea pig farm, IFAD reported. This gave many women the ability to start their own businesses. It is leading to many people becoming successful while remaining in rural areas.
Guinea pig farming is helping Andean women with female empowerment, economic development and even women’s rights. The Central Association of Women of Pucyura is a local organization of women trying to fight against domestic violence and advocate for programs to help protect women, IPS reported. It is using guinea pig farming to help show women their potential. By understanding their worth, Andean women can begin to find the power within themselves to fight for better lives and equality.
Financial independence is only the first step in helping women find success and equality in rural and poor Andean communities. Guinea pig farming is not only producing income for these women. It is also providing their children with a better chance against many aspects of poverty.
Growing Demands and Various Markets
These movements and women are not sporadic or unique success stories. Trends predict that guinea pig farming demand could be able to bring many more women and families out of poverty. Demands are present in more than one country and area. Not all of the business goes towards consumption; guinea pig farmers sell and export multiple different breeds being bred as domesticated pets. The Guardian reported that “A 2019 report by Peru’s ministry of agriculture revealed a growing international demand for cuy [guinea pig] meat, with an 18% growth in sales between 1994 and 2018. Prices have also increased from $5 to $13 per kilo over the same period.”
With multiple exportation opportunities and its significance as a Peruvian delicacy, guinea pig farming can be a viable opportunity for women in the Andes region for a long time to come.
– Karen Krosky