Open Access Women's access to food-processing technology at the household level is associated with improved diets at the pre-harvest lean season in The Gambia

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Abstract:

Background. Women's access to food processing technology at the household level may have positive dietary benefits during the pre-harvest lean season when households are most stressed from food shortages and higher energy expenditures from agricultural work.

Objective. This study in rural Gambia was conducted to determine if women's access to small manually operated oil presses (ram) for sesame oil extraction had any significant effects on seasonal fluctuations of household oil supply and on dietary intakes of women and children.

Methods. Participants were 40 women and children with access to community-based motorized oil press expellers (Expeller-control), 37 women and children with access to village-based ram presses (Press-experiment), and 43 women and children with access to both ram press and motorized expeller (Combination). Dietary data were collected at baseline, at peak oil-pressing, at pre-harvest lean, and at the post-harvest seasons.

Results. Households in the Press-experiment and Combination groups consumed 37 and 51 percent more oil, respectively, than those in the Expeller-control group during the pre-harvest lean season. Women from the Press-experiment and Combination groups consumed more energy at the lean season than those in the Expeller-control group. Similarly, children from the Press-experiment and Combination groups consumed more protein at peak oil-processing season than those from the Expeller-control group. At the pre-harvest season children from these two groups also consumed more protein, however, only the consumption of the Combination children was statistically significant compared with that of the Expeller-control group (p < .05). Press-experiment children consumed more nutrient-dense weaning foods during the pre-harvest lean season than Expeller-control children.

Conclusions. Women's access to appropriate technology can provide the means to "add value" to their agriculture product, which may serve as an economic stabilizer with potential to increase dietary intakes and incomes, especially during the pre-harvest lean season.

Keywords: DIETARY INTAKES; ECONOMIC STABILIZER; FOOD PROCESSING TECHNOLOGY; PRE-HARVEST LEAN SEASON; RAM PRESS; THE GAMBIA; WOMEN

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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