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Guinea pigs are the latest delicacy in Mathare

The taste buds of Mathare residents have developed an increasing preference to guinea pig meat.

This is thanks to a 35 year old man who has supplying the alternative source of meat source.

Andayi Ondele, an electrician, got the idea of breeding guinea pigs in the sprawling slum after seeing some of his friends making a kill from the business in his rural home in Butere.

He observed friends’ flourishing business for a while before venturing into it with a view of turning the populous Mathare his hub.

Guinea pigs can also be kept as pets. PHOTO | GERALD BWISA.
Guinea pigs can also be kept as pets. PHOTO | GERALD BWISA.

It has however not been a smooth ride for Mr Ondele who started off by keeping rabbit.

But now his customers describe the guinea pig’s meat as tastier and tenderer compared to other animals.

“People love to look at guinea pigs because they resemble rats. The only difference is that they do not have tails,” Mr. Ondele

In comparison, he said, guinea pigs and rabbits eat the same diet, mainly vegetable and pellets from animal shops.

“As long as you feed and treat them properly it’s not hard keeping them,” he added.

Guinea pigs do not breed rapidly like rabbits.

A large guinea pig weighing 0.7 kilogram goes for shs2, 000, while a small fetches shs1, 000.

Mr Ondele breeds the guinea pigs at his farm in Ruai and ferries them to Mathare.

“When am done selling these I order for more from home. My wife usually helps me feed them when am not around, “explained Mr. Ondele.

Most of his customers come all the way from Huruma, Dandora and Njiru.

He has two types of customers, those who fancy guinea pigs as pets and those who crave them for food. Guinea pigs are popular with as pets.

Unlike other animals, Guinea pigs are not slaughtered alive. They are knocked unconscious and then slaughtered.

“If it’s very small one can opt to roasting it just the way a cow’s head is done then fry it. So many come and I slaughter for them,” he explained.

There is always an inspection done by health offer at Kiamaiko slaughter. When a customer request for slaughter, we will ask the officer to certify the meat before handing it over.