Food intake among smallholder cassava value chain households

The purpose of this study is to compare food consumption and dietary diversity in smallholder cassava value chain households (CVCHs) and non-cassava value chain households (non-CVCHs).

A total of 572 rural households were selected using multi-stage sampling from Oyo and Kwara states, Southwest Nigeria. Socio-demographic, 24 h dietary recall and food frequency questionnaires were used to collect data. Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDS) and the Minimum Dietary Diversity for Women of Reproductive Age (MDD-W) were measured.

The mean age of respondents was 49.1 ± 17.3 years, 68.3 per cent were female, household sizes ranged from 2-20 with an average of 8 members. Most households consumed monotonous staple-based diets mainly from roots and tubers, cereals and legumes. There was no significant difference in HDDS (6.70 ± 1.37 and 6.77 ± 1.12; p = 0.12) and MDD-W (4.78 ± 1.12 and 4.95 ± 1.16; p = 0.09) for CVCH and non-CVCH respectively. About one-third of all women did not achieve the MDD-W score required for micronutrient adequacy, with the main dietary gap being vitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables.

Practical implications
The findings suggest that there was no influence of households’ involvement in cassava value chain activities on their pattern of food consumption and dietary diversity.

While cassava value chain activities have potential for improved livelihoods among its actors, a nutrition-sensitive approach needs to be incorporated to translate this into their improved food consumption, dietary diversity and nutritional (particularly micronutrient) status.