Germer, Aminata: Food habits and nutrition security in West Africa : Practices from Southwestern Burkina Faso. - Bonn, 2020. - Dissertation, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.
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author = {{Aminata Germer}},
title = {Food habits and nutrition security in West Africa : Practices from Southwestern Burkina Faso},
school = {Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn},
year = 2020,
month = oct,

note = {Background: The southwestern part of Burkina Faso (BF) like the whole country faces severe vulnerability to food and nutrition insecurity, which is characterised by a cyclical up and down, and particularly by a high rate of malnutrition. Dietary patterns represent one of the key factors of food and nutrition security or insecurity, especially malnutrition, and are thus the optimal starting point of investigating food and nutrition security. Earlier studies on food security focus on the production of and access to food but less on food consumption. This has led to a lack of concrete opportunities to capture the complexity of the dietary and culinary patterns to reflect on the fundamental issue of how food insecurity is experienced and perceived by the food insecure people themselves.
Objective: Against this constellation, this study investigated household’s (hh) practices and experiences of food and nutrition by focussing on their dietary patterns for a better understanding of and therefore to a better policy to reduce vulnerability to food and nutrition insecurity in Dano commune, located in the southwestern part of Burkina Faso.
Methods: The data collection involved observations, in-depth unstructured and semi-structured interviews with key informants (n=28) and households (n=133 household), focus group discussions (n=8) and informal discussions, as well as household surveys and food consumption assessment such as 24-hour/seven-day, recalls on dietary intake (n=133 household).
Results: Dietary patterns were characterised by a poor quantity and quality of diet. Quantitatively the largest number of households (69%) consumed less than the recommended three daily meals. Whereby 61 % of households had a meal twice, 31% thrice, 4% once a day and 2% had occasionally a daily meal-meaning that they had no meal or less than once a meal a day, but with the tendency of not having a meal. Qualitatively dietary patterns were monotonous with rarely any diversification. Diet consisted predominated of cooked cereal grains or flour-in form of a paste (tô)- accompanied by a sauce. Maize, red sorghum and rice were the most consumed cereals types. Diversity comes from the types of sauces. Sauces are with but not always meat or fish. For seasonings, shea butter and the traditional spice soumbala and/or were the most used in the sauces in the rural area, whereas Maggi and other vegetable oils (mostly groundnut, palm oil) appear in urban sauces. Okra, onion, aubergine, cabbage and sorrel are the most consumed vegetables both as fruit and leaves. Tomato is used fresh and/or as a paste, but mostly fresh. Baobab leaves, generally used in form of dried powder represent also a significant part of the vegetables used by the households in sauces. The common dish on festive days is rice with tomato sauce with meat or poultry, accompanied by tuber stew in some cases. Pasta with tomato sauce is getting more a festive dish in rural Dano. Other food groups, such as dairy products, meat and poultry, eggs, fruits, roots and tubers were irregularly consumed. These dietary patterns invariably lead to low dietary diversity and high malnutrition rates, especially among the most vulnerable population groups that were women in their reproductive age, and children under five years. Furthermore, this study found out that the regular consumption of the local beer Dolo was an influential part of the diet. This was due to the dominant sociocultural and religious meaning of the dolo during funerals and social events. The dietary patterns were determined by economic, local food availability, sociocultural and health-nutritional factors. Economic and local food availability factors were revealed as having the strongest influence on diet. The sources of food were mainly own-production of food, purchase of food and food aid in form of intersocial and institutional food transfer. However, not only food consumption underlined contexts of vulnerability, but food production and access as well. Food production was vulnerable to the existing and increasing climatic variability, increasing plant/crops and livestock diseases and the associated decreasing yields. Additionally, population growth and the resulting lack of land and related social instability, the increasing disinterest of the youth for farming, as well as the low institutional support and the predominance of traditional land rights represented further constraints faced by food producers. Food access was vulnerable to increasing food prices and a limited supply of some food groups (especially roots and tubers), fresh fish and good quality meat. Established coping and/or adaptive strategies to that vulnerable food and nutrition situation existed at both household and institutional level. Households applied petty commodity production and trading (43%), the sale of livestock (31%), the sale of vegetables (16%), consumption of wild plants and fruits (21%) as most coping strategies. Institutions focused on sensibilisation (conscious awareness) on nutritive food and hygienic behaviour; admission and treatment of malnourished children through consumption of local nutritive crops in the health centre, school meals and food aid programmes for the most vulnerable as well as on increasing food production strategies.
Conclusion: This study highlights the vulnerabilities of the whole food and nutrition security chain- especially of food consumption- in the study area. The results add to the growing body of research indicating that good food availability and access do not guarantee adequate dietary patterns. Furthermore, the study draws attention - at both the household and institutional level- to the importance and promotion of intensive awareness on the importance and the necessity of adequate dietary patterns, especially for the most vulnerable groups of women in their reproductive age and children under five years.},

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