HE Dr Taïga is a full veterinary expert. Born in the major pastoral region of Cameroon, he earned his DMV in Dakar-Senegal before joining the civil service in 1986, at the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries where he has built his career to date. Dr Taïga has undergone several trainings within and outside Cameroon including Hokkaido-Japan where he qualified as an expert in dairy farming and related industries. His career had its humble beginnings in rural Meiganga beef region, before his appointment in Vina Division (still in Adamaoua plateau region). He later rose to Deputy Director in charge of Animal Production at the Ministry headquarters in Yaounde, then Technical Adviser in 2010, an a year later by presidential decree, became the Minister of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries (December 2011). Dr Taïga envisions a diversified and sustainable framework for the Cameroon livestock industry which will enable it to play a critical role in food security and income generation for the country as prescribed in the government document guide Cameroon Vision 2035. HE Dr Taïga holds a Masters in Public Management. He is very supportive of local development initiatives and member of CPDM, the ruling political party.
Prof Roger Tsafack Nanfosso is a professor and vice chancellor at the University of Dschang. He is the director of the Centre for Research in Applied Microeconomics (REMA), the Economic Policy Management (EPM) Training Program at the University of Yaounde II and a member of several Scientific Societies. Nanfosso holds a diploma of advanced studies in Economic Policy Management, a PhD in Business Economics and a Doctorate of State in Economic Sciences. He is the secretary of the Economics and Management Chamber of the Cameroonian Society of Agrégés (SCA) and a member of the Strategic Studies Group and External Reference Group of the African Capacity Building Foundation. He is vice chair of the Francophone Association of Development Studies, chairman of the Circle of Economic Thought of Cameroonian Entrepreneurs Association and coordinator of the Network of the Researchers in Management of Francophone Economics. Nanfosso’s areas of expertise include economics, microeconomics, capacity building, corporate management and economic policy management.
Dr Appolinaire Djikeng is the director of the BecA-ILRI Hub. A genomics scientist, he has published numerous peer-reviewed scientific research articles, review articles and book chapters covering a wide range of issues from basic to applied biosciences research focusing on basic sciences, applied human health and agricultural development. He serves on various international management and scientific boards, advisory panels, juries and selection committees, university programs and centers and large donors (bi-lateral) funded programs in Africa, Australia, Europe, and the USA. He holds joint faculty appointments in universities and research institutes in Africa and in the USA. Djikeng was trained as Molecular Biologist at Brunel University – PhD (England) and at the University of Yaoundé I – BSC and MSC (Cameroon). He conducted postdoctoral research focusing on RNA processing and regulation of gene expressing at Yale University School of Medicine, subsequently joining the faculty where he build teams and secured funding to conduct research on RNA interference and functional genomics; and in parasite genomics, viral genomics, metagenomics and high throughput next generation sequencing technology development at the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI, Rockville, MD, USA). Djikeng joined the BecA-ILRI Hub in 2009 as Technology Manager and was subsequently appointed Director in 2013 to lead the program into its innovation phase.
Prof Antoine Mvondo Ze is an associate professor of soil science and a senior agricultural scientist in the Faculty of Agronomy and Agricultural Sciences (FASA) of the University of Dschang. He has been in charge of the soil and environmental laboratory for the last twenty years. Prof Mvondo Ze is the Dean of FASA and among the faculty involved in the organization of the symposium.
Dr Bruce Pengelly is a consultant with Pengelly Consultancy Pty Ltd, Australia and was the Partnership Leader of the CSIRO research for development partnerships with the BecA-ILRI Hub and with CORAF/WECARD from 2010 until his retirement in July 2013. His research focus for over 40 years has been on tropical and subtropical farming systems research with special reference to the adaptation and use of tropical and sub-tropical forages in mixed farming systems in Australia, Africa and Indonesia. Since 2003, Pengelly has held senior management positions in CSIRO, Australia, leading a large agricultural systems research program of over 100 research staff in CSIRO (2003 to 2008), and later Assistant Chief of the CSIRO Division of Sustainable Ecosystems (2008-2010). The cavies’ project carried out under the BecA-CSIRO partnership was conceived and implemented while he served in the partnership management team.
Dr Carlos Seré is special advisor to the director general and the deputy director general of Bioversity International. He supports them in developing strategic partnerships, managing the strategic sharpening process and engagement in global initiatives as well as deepening the engagement with CGIAR Research Programs, and enhancing Bioversity’s international stature. Previously, Seré was the associate vice-president, head of the strategy and knowledge management department of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) from 2011 to 2013. He was director general for the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya from 2002 to 2011. Prior to that, he worked for the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) as director of the regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean in Uruguay; and as senior economist of the Tropical Pastures Program at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)-Colombia. He has a doctorate in agricultural economics from University of Hohenheim, Germany. His work has largely focused on livestock and natural resource economics as well as agricultural research management.
Dr Marcel Casimir Ndongo is a DMV by training (University of Maiduguri, Federal Republic of Nigeria). He has specialized in rural development and seeds engineering and has undergone numerous trainings within and outside Cameroon on seeds production, fingerlings, poultry and pork meat processing, project management and veterinary sciences. Between 2002 and 2005 he was research officer at the Directorate of veterinary services. From 2005-2011, Dr Ndongo was the national coordinator of the pig development program at the Ministry of Livestock. In January 2014, he was appointed as the deputy director of health protection in charge of epidemio-surveillance. Since January 2015, Dr Ndongo is the director for the development of animal production and industries at the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries in Cameroon.
Dr Alexander Djimeli is a lecturer and researcher in information and communication sciences. Prior to that, he was a reporter, chief editor and managing director for ‘Le Messager’, a daily newspaper in Douala, Cameroon. Djimeli has specialized in scientific communication and provides training in research and development. In the context of the cavy symposium, he is providing support in awareness creation.
Dr Angel Reyna is an agronomist majoring in animal science and currently works as a National Coordinator for food security and economic development in World Vision Bolivia South America. Reyna has 17 years’ experience in livelihoods projects with families in the poorest regions of Bolivia. Over the last six years his work has involved cavies’ projects where the objective was to increase the access and availability of food through enhanced cavy production conditions, stronger producer organizations, and improved linkage between public actors and producers.
Dr Barbara Massler is a geographer and a long-term expert in rural development. She has worked as a consultant and trainer/facilitator in the fields of project management/results based management, monitoring and evaluation and scaling up of innovations in all continents. Massler acquired her first experience in working with domestic cavies in the GIZ Irrigation Project in the Bolivian Plateau in the late 1980s, when she was co-responsible for enhancing income-generating activities for women.
Dr Brigitte Maass is an agricultural scientist with a long-term experience in South America and eastern Africa. Since has been working as an independent researcher and an associate professor at the German University of Göttingen. She has specialized in tropical forages (legumes and grasses) as well as agro-biodiversity and plant genetic resources in the tropics. She has gained experience with domestic cavies from having lived in the central Andes of Peru, and more specifically, in 2009 when she co-led a research project on feeding forages to monogastric animals in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Dr Christian Barrantes Bravo is a university professor at La Molina Agrarian University (Perú). He has vast experience in small animals production (cavies, goats and rabbits), has specialized in rural development and agricultural extension, working in development projects as part of the Agrarian University and as the director of Cooperación al Desarrollo en África, Latinoamérica y Europa (CESAL) NGO. Barrantes has recently finished his PhD in rural development. Apart from being responsible for the small animal research program at the Agrarian University, he is the director of the Sustainable Small Production Institute. His research focuses on extension for smallholder farmers and agricultural systems involving cavies and goats.
Mr David Barasa is a program assistant at the BecA-ILRI Hub providing administrative support to the Swedish funded ‘Climate-smart Brachiaria grasses for improving livestock production in East Africa’ project. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Hotel and Institution Management from Maseno University in Kenya and a Master’s degree in Business administration from the University of Nairobi Specializing in Strategic Management. Barasa has acquired extensive experience in customer care and service having worked in the hospitality industry. His first contact with cavies is through the BecA-ILRI Hub led project on ‘Harnessing husbandry of domestic cavy for alternative and rapid access to food and income in Cameroon and Democratic Republic of Congo.’
Dr David Kouakou is an agricultural scientist and heads the animal sciences lab at the Institute National Polytechnique-Félix Houphouet Boigny (INP-HB) University of Côte d’Ivoire, where he has been teaching since 2001. He is an expert in guinea pigs and rabbits nutrition research. Currently, Kouakou is contributing to the development of guinea pig and rabbit rearing in Africa and to the enrichment of animal products in polyunsaturated fatty acids omega-3 in order to improve human health.
Mr Eduardo Rosse is an agricultural scientist. He has experience working in innovation systems for agriculture and exotic husbandry in Costa Rica through the Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE) and has worked as a researcher at Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (AVSF)-Bolivia focusing on participatory guarantee systems and mini-livestock for smallholder farmers. He was an invited professor of the public university at the Tropical and Valley Programs of Rural Development. Since 2013, Rosse has been working at the Zero Malnutrition Program supporting cavy farmers with entrepreneurial services provided by the Municipality of Cochabamba City in marketplaces, supermarkets and product up-grading.
Ms Ethel Makila is the BecA-ILRI Hub’s Communications Officer where she provides leadership and coordination for all communication, public and media engagements, ensuring a significant growth in its regional and international profile as a world class research facility enhancing agricultural biosciences research capacity of African scientists for improved food and nutritional safety and security and income. She has extensive experience in education, communication and development and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Agricultural Information and Communication Management at the University of Nairobi. Her first interaction with cavies was in 2013 through the BecA-ILRI Hub led project on ‘Harnessing husbandry of domestic cavy for alternative and rapid access to food and income in Cameroon and Democratic Republic of Congo.’
Dr Felix Meutchieye is an agricultural engineer and environmentalist involved in several rural development networks and programs in Cameroon, DRC and Burkina Faso. Meutchieye was the co-principal investigator (PI) and PI of the cavies’ project under the BecA-CSIRO partnership and has authored scientific papers on the research on domestic cavies. He is currently a lecturer at the University of Dschang in Cameroon where he was recently appointed as the focal point for the Animal Genetic Resources Africa Core Gene Bank, an African Union initiative hosted by the University of Dschang.
Dr Francois Tsongo has worked with World Vision International as a food security coordinator (2002 to 2010), distributing cavies to 950 malnourished families to supplement their nutrition. He has joined Vétérinaires Sans Frontières-Belgium in Butembo, DR Congo as assistant project manager and is currently a project manager with the same organization.
Prof Gustave Mushagalusa is the vice-chancellor of the Université Evangélique en Afrique, Bukavu, DR Congo and professor at the Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. He holds a PhD in Agriculture and biological Engineering from the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium and is specialized in plant eco-physiology as well as intercropping system. Nachigera primary interest on domestic cavies focuses on how legumes are integrated in principal crops in tropical area, and how they are used as forages. He also has an interest on how cavies are used to improve children diet in the eastern part of the DRC, where a huge number of children are malnourished.
Dr Guy Mensah is an animal scientist and a wildlife management specialist. He has long-term experience in grasscutter (Thryonomys swindrianus) breeding and its extinction in many countries of West and Central Africa. He is a research director and senior lecturer at the University of Abomey-Calavi, the University of Parakou, the University of Agriculture and the National Institute Agricultural Research of Benin. Mensah is in charge of the unconventional animal livestock program in Benin and the coordinator of the ‘Insects as Feed in West Africa’ project. Mensah raised domestic cavies from 1964 to 1983 when he begun grasscutter breeding with a focus on research and development
Ms Helen Altshul is a development partnerships specialist. She provides strategic and operational advice on the negotiation, establishment and maintenance of effective partnerships and supports program management and resource mobilisation at the BecA-ILRI Hub. She has 20 years of international experience in both research and development, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa. Originally from the United Kingdom, Helen has been resident in Nairobi, Kenya since 2000. She previously worked in senior management and leadership positions for a number of international NGOs and has a childhood experience of keeping domestic cavies as pets.
Dr Hilaire Macaire Womeni is an associate Professor in the department of biochemistry faculty of science in the University of Dschang. He has a Masters in Biochemistry from the National School of Agro-Industrial Sciences (ENSAI) in Cameroon where he focused on food sciences. Prior to that, Womeni’s worked as an assistant lecturer at the University of Dshcang where he advanced his PhD research on unconventional sources of lipids and proteins.
Dr Jacques Djomika is in charge of the small ruminant project in Cameroon. Since 2009, he has been responsible for the follow up of small ruminant farmers including those participating in the BecA-ILRI Hub led ‘Harnessing Genetic Diversity for Improving Goat Productivity’ project. Djomika was previously responsible for the divisional level of the national program for the popularization of agricultural research, and the regional level of the national program of swine development. He has extensive experience in field work, supporting farmers in common initiative groups and cooperative societies.
Dr John Msuya is an associate professor at the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in Tanzania. Msuya is a versatile researcher and consultant having spent considerable time of his career in research and university teaching. With a first degree in agriculture, a Masters in Human Nutrition from University of Otago in New Zealand and a Doctorate in Food Economics from Kiel in Germany, Msuya combines academic and development expertise with a focus on fighting malnutrition and related consequences. More recently, he has taken interest in the subject of nutrition-sensitive agriculture for development in Africa.
Dr Kingsley Etchu is a scientist in animal nutrition and physiology with long-term experience in Cameroon and Central/West Africa. Etchu has been working as a researcher with IRAD; the International council of Science – ICSU-ROA; and as a part-time lecturer at the University of Buea in Cameroon. He is specialized in monogastric animal nutrition and gained his experience with domestic cavies through supervision of students’ research in 2010 and also when he became the national scientific coordinator for animal production and fisheries and the national coordinator for the country’s poultry research program that aims at improvement of poultry and monogastric production in 2015.
Dr Leah Ndungu is a program coordinator at the BecA-ILRI Hub. Ndungu has over 15 years’ experience in managing projects, people and research relations. Before joining the BecA-ILRI Hub, she was ILRI’s research management officer responsible for overall coordination of the institution’s research management. In addition to that, she holds a PhD in Veterinary Science with a specialization in Agricultural Economics from University of Pretoria, South Africa, a Masters in Veterinary Sciences, from Washington State University, USA, and Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine from University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Prof Lilia Chauca is an animal production engineer and leader of the national innovation program of small animal breeding in the National Institute of Agrarian Innovation (INIA) Peru. She has conducted innovative work with cavies which has had impacts on food security, income generation and empowerment of women cavy producers. After years of research, producing cavies went from being just a domestic self-sustaining activity to a productive and large-scale activity that has generated jobs for rural people. Francia’s focus has been animal breeding, research and transfer of technology. She has published 117 research papers and is a professor at Universidad Cientifica del Sur and Cayetano Heredia University, in Lima, Peru.
Dr Martin Alexis Ondoua trained as a food processing engineer at the National school of Agro-industrial sciences of Ngaoundéré-Cameroon. Since 2011he has worked with Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industry as an animal industry engineer. He is currently the head of service for promotion and adoption of innovations where his key responsibilities involve promoting new practical technologies in livestock production and animal industry, technical reporting, recording research results, training producers and professionals in the domain of livestock and animal industry. His experience with cavies dates back to his childhood when his grandparents were cavy breeders.
Dr Neema Shiletikwa Urassa is an agricultural social-economist and principal for cavy project activities at the Tanzania Livestock Research Institute (TALIRI). Urassa specialized in socio-economics of livestock production for Rural Development. Her experience with domestic cavies dates from 2015 when the cavy project was introduced to TALIRI for the first time.
Dr Parfait Kouakou is a lecturer and researcher at Peleforo GON Coulibaly University in Côte d’Ivoire. He has specialized in breeding of domestic rodents. Kouakou started working on domestic cavies in 2005 at Nangui Abrogoua University where he was a student, and which now has a program on cavies’ husbandry, breeding, feeding and performance parameters.
Dr Patricia Falconí Salas is a zootechnician with a long professional experience in breeding cavies. Salas is a senior lecturer at the University of the Armed Forces- ESPE in Ecuador, matter of minor species, and also a specialist in rural development. She has worked for more than 20 years researching in the area of alternative feed for guinea pigs and has led several research projects in these areas, as well training rural women in raising this animal.
Mr Ricardo Ordóñez Noriega is a zootechnical engineer, MBA, specializing in rural business development and innovation. He has worked in Latin America, managing different economic development projects as part of international cooperation agencies such as CARE, SNV and NESsT. Since 2013, Noriega has been involved in sustainable development projects with Antamina, Peru’s largest mining company and one of the largest in the world. His experience in domestic cavies began with his engineer and masters thesis, where he conducted research on domestic cavies local markets. Currently he promotes domestic cavies as part of different projects in the areas covered by the mining company with the aim of improving the income of rural families.
Dr Roberto Moncayo Gallian is an agronomist specialized in intensive production of animal, vegetables and forages of the Andean region. His experience with cavies began in 1979 as a commercial breeder. He now manages a breeding facility with 60,000 animals. Galliani has been invited to more than 80 courses, symposiums, seminars, conferences and speeches in the area of guinea pigs. He is also an advisor to several NGO’s, promoting family breeding guinea pigs in Ecuador and also a Co-author of the book ‘Producciỏn de cuyes’.
Mr Samy Bacigale is an animal scientist working in field of livestock feeds. He is currently a junior lecturer at the department of animal science and production of the Université Evangélique en Afrique in Bukavu, DRC. Since September 2015, he has been engaged as the animal specialist at International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Bukavu. Bacigale has been working with cavies since 2009 when he was involved in a research on forages for monogastric animals in the eastern DRC, and during his MSc research on tropical forage legumes as source of nutrients for cavies in Sud-Kivu, eastern DRC.
Mr Serge Armel Njidjou is in charge of planning and development at the University of Dschang. He is also in charge of research and projects within Groupement d’Interet Economique de l’Universite de Dschang (GIE-UDS), a strategic platform linking the university to development companies, for entrepreneurship, development of professional courses, income generating activities and socioeconomic development. Njidjou is the administrative and financial manager for the Cameroon component of BecA-ILRI Hub led ‘Harnessing genetic diversity for improved goat productivity’ project.
Dr Thierry Metre is an agronomist specialized in animal and crop production and a research and lecturing assistant with the Evangelical University of Africa (UEA) in DRC. Metre’s interest in cavies farming dates back to his early childhood when he practiced cavies farming alongside his studies. Additionally, Metre has set up a pilot farm that has provided opportunities to students to conduct research. Metre has provided consultancy support to NGOs, UN agencies and scientists in training farmers and providing cavy breeding stock. Furthermore, he initiated the cavies farmers network (UECCO) that has been propagating best practices among cavy farmers.
Mrs Ursule Mekongo is a zootechnician and a co-founder of Association des Eleveurs et Agriculteurs du Cameroun (AEAC). Mekongo has worked extensively with various stakeholders in the area of animal husbandry and participated in projects involving various types of livestock, including small ruminants, beekeeping and cavies. She spearheads the field coordination of the cavies’ project under the BecA-CSIRO partnership which involves working with farmers on problem identification, suggesting solutions, training, follow up and development of training materials in order to assist farmers in cavy production.
Prof Wanjiku Chiuri is an associate scientist with long-term experience in Africa. Chiuri has worked in various fields from education, water, environment and agriculture. From January 2016, she joined Laikipia University as the deputy vice chancellor in charge of the Academic and Research division. Apart from that, she is specialized in gender mainstreaming and analysis as well as value chains and Innovation Platforms in particular. The year 2009, was her first time to interact with domestic cavies as a member of the research team of forages for monogastric animals in the tropics.
Mrs Ydosile Kana is a zootechnician with a Master of Science in biotechnology and animals production. She works for the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industry as a focal point for non-conventional livestock in the Department of Development of Production and Animal Industries (DDPIA). Her experience with cavies dates back to her childhood when her parents were cavy breeders.