Fruit production and consumption: practices, preferences and attitudes of women in rural western Kenya
This study identified practices, preferences, attitudes and decision-making for fruit consumption, fruit production, and use of income generated from these activities and assessed the contribution of fruits to closing nutritional gaps of members of smallholder farming households in Western Kenya during two different seasons. Two cross-sectional surveys were conducted, one in July/August 2013 (S1) and the other in February/March 2014 (S2). The same respondents, women responsible for food preparation in the household, were interviewed during S1 and S2 with a total of 272 women participating. Semi-structured questionnaires were used to collect data on practices, preferences and attitudes related to fruit production and consumption including a quantitative 24-h recall. On the day prior to the interview, only 25% of women during S1 and 37% during S2 had consumed fruits. Fruit consumption in grams per day differed significantly (p < 0.001) between the two seasons and was higher in S2 (mean = 106 g/d; SD = 208 g/d) compared to S1 (mean = 49 g/d; SD = 101 g/d). During both seasons, 80% or more respondents did not reach the recommended amount of 200 g of fruits per day and also had low vitamin A and C intakes, especially during S1. Simultaneously, 80% of women indicated that the household grew fruit, yet fruit production and consumption diversity were low. About 20% of respondents identified fruit consumption taboos for different household members and 37% viewed the consumption of wild fruits negatively. Integrated agriculture-nutrition programs should consider local practices, preferences and cultural attitudes in order to promote the consumption of a diversity of nutrient rich fruits and consequently better diets and nutrition.
KeywordsAgriculture-nutrition link Consumption attitudes Fruits Kenya Micronutrient deficiency
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