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University of Pretoria (2014)

Designing a food based strategy for the introduction of an unfamiliar food crop as a community based approach

Rajput, Innike

Titre : Designing a food based strategy for the introduction of an unfamiliar food crop as a community based approach

Auteur : Rajput, Innike

Université de soutenance : University of Pretoria

Grade : MConsumer Science 2014

Household food security has been described with a three-factor definition : 1) the availability of food, 2) the access thereto, and lastly 3) the food utilization patterns and practices. In previous research, both the availability and access to food were studied in a farming community in the Free State Province to understand how these factors contribute to household food security. However food utilization was not investigated at the time. Food consumption patterns of households deserve attention, particularly in relation to food gardens and nutrition, including the cultivation cycle, dietary norms and practices, and methods of food preparation and preservation. By studying utilization patterns of foods, the context of food insecurity and the resultant malnutrition can be better understood. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the food utilization strategies of a known food crop (spinach) can be used to establish efficient utilization of a new, unfamiliar crop (orange-fleshed sweet potato) in a farm worker community. Three focus group interviews were conducted with a total of 21 participants to determine current food utilization patterns of spinach and orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP). The women were asked to describe how they currently utilize these crops in the same focus iv group discussion (although the focus was on the known crop (spinach)) to understand what actions they take during the process of utilization, from access to disposal. They were asked to describe which tools and methods they apply, and who participates in all these various activities. Subsequently, the respondents were asked to perform all these steps while being observed to record current practices. Data from the focus group interviews and the observations were transcribed and categorized under themes. It was found that in addition to a lack of dietary diversity and subsequent malnutrition found discovered in another study of this community, that they are also not optimally utilizing their food. This is as a direct result of lack of access to a variety of food due to monetary constraints, lack of nearby shops, a lack of cultivation and production education about crops that can be home-produced, and a lack of knowledge about nutrition and the importance of a varied diet. A food-based approach to improve the lack of knowledge of home-produced crops and nutrition was, consequently, the focus of this utilization strategy. This information was used to design a food-based strategy to improve the utilization of an unfamiliar crop (OFSP), in areas where the food crop was not being utilized optimally. Although the strategy was developed based on observations and lessons from one specific community, the principal findings were used to develop a strategy that is generic to the implementation of an unfamiliar food crop, and can then be refined for a specific community before implementation. A complete training manual was developed to complement the food-based strategy. The researcher then tested the strategy with agricultural extension officers who are active in communities where food insecurity and malnutrition exist during a training programme hosted by the Agricultural Research Council - Roodeplaat. The agricultural extension officers provided input on the strategy and identified areas for improvement. These recommendations were adapted in a manual to ensure that the developed strategy could be broadly implemented in other communities. The overall conclusion of the study is that it is necessary to investigate and understand all elements of the food utilization system to truly understand the reasons for observed behaviour, habits and practices. Planning and developing a nutrition education programme requires systematic analysis of nutrition and health-related problems in a given community. It is evident that each step of the utilization cycle is equally critical and should enjoy comparable attention to facilitate delivery of nutrient-rich foodstuffs to the end user.


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Page publiée le 26 décembre 2014, mise à jour le 1er janvier 2019