Vitamin A deficiency is a global health challenge, particularly in the developing world. Diet based approaches, using locally available foods, are recommended for providing long term, sustainable solutions. The ProFarmer project, initiated in Malawi, encouraged local farmers to re-adopt landrace crop varieties. Orange maize was used as a case study. Over time, reintroducing this carotenoid-rich crop is predicted to increase provitamin A content in the Malawian diet. Furthermore, it is considered a relatively simple, cost-effective approach that has the potential to reduce dependence on food fortification. This study was aimed at evaluating the impact of the reintroduction of landrace orange maize on nutrition knowledge, attitudes and behaviours (KAB) in women of farming families that currently cultivate the crop. Women were selected, as they are largely responsible for food preparation and providing healthy foods for their families. Additionally, the overall diet adequacy in women living in rural Malawi was assessed. A total of 336 females took part in the cross-sectional study. Before the study, the participating farming families underwent a training program run by local Agriculture Extension workers prior to receiving seeds for cultivation. The training included an explanation of the rationale behind reintroducing landrace maize and nutrition education regarding the health aspects of providing provitamin A through locally grown foods. Families that had recently joined the project and families that had already harvested the crop in previous years were included in the study sample. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to determine KAB regarding orange maize. Diet quality was also assessed using the FAO Minimum Dietary Diversity questionnaire (MDD-W) designed for women. Independent t-tests and Chi-square tests were performed where appropriate. Positive attitudes towards growing and consuming landrace orange maize were recorded. However, only 32% of the women understood the nutritional benefits. Dietary Diversity scores, a proxy for nutrient adequacy, were low with only 34% of women consuming a sufficiently diverse diet. Despite low levels of nutritional knowledge, landrace orange maize was well accepted by families in rural Malawi and presents an affordable, sustainable option for increasing dietary sources of provitamin A. Nutrition education emphasizing the advantages of eating orange maize and expanding diet diversity is recommended in Malawi.
|Original language||American English|
|Number of pages||22|
|Journal||African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development|
|State||Published - 2022|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Pears Foundation and the International School of the Agriculture Sciences-The Hebrew University of Jerusalem for the scholarship that enabled carrying out this research (AAK). We appreciate the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) for providing support for the fieldwork through the Pro-Farmer Project. We also want to thank all the field staff from Dedza and Thyolo districts who supported the project with community mobilization during the study. Finally, we would like to thank the women who took part in this study
The authors would like to thank the Pears Foundation and the International School of the Agriculture Sciences-The Hebrew University of Jerusalem for the scholarship that enabled carrying out this research (AAK). We appreciate the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) for providing support for the fieldwork throughethrP-FaromerProject.Wealsowanttothankallthefieldtsff froam Dedza and Thyolo districts who supported the rpjeoct wth coimmunity mobilization during the study. Finally, we would like to thank the owmen who took part in this study.
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- Diet diversity
- Landrace orange maize
- Nutrition knowledge
- Vitamin a