IFGH 2010: The links between indigenous crop cultivation and the nutritional status of children in Kerewan, The Gambia

Category:
November 30, 2010

Indigenous crop cultivation has been suggested as a solution to decreasing malnutrition, a problem most prevalent amongst children.This study determined whether the cultivation of indigenous crops has a positive impact on the nutritional status of children in Kerewan, The Gambia.

Informant interviews and household surveys were used. Interviews explored causes of malnutrition, constraints involved in agriculture, and interventions combating malnutrition.The survey examined agricultural activities, dwelling information and nutritional status of children in the households as a representation of the community. Nutritional status was determined by measuring the MUAC of children less than five years.

Nutritional status of children was poor; 63% of children had an MUAC below the median for their age. Results showed an increase in exotic crop cultivation. Malnutrition levels are decreasing due to intervention strategies – education and cooking programmes – and the increase in variety of cultivated crops.The majority of households cultivate crops for consumption; therefore the nutritive value of crops contributes to improvement in nutritional status.Malnutrition is prevalent due to poor food preparation techniques and reliance on rain-fed agriculture.

Recommendations include: cooking demonstrations targeting young mothers should be extended to all women in the community; and to ensure the provision of food during the rainy season storage facility availability should be increased.

 

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