Assessment of factors that predict availability and access to nutrient foods.

in Gisagara and Nyaruguru Districts of Rwanda

Background

In 2013-14, RASD Rwanda carried out a baseline assessment of factors associated with
1.) availability of nutritious foods.
2.) access to enough and sufficient foods.
3.) food utilization in Gisagara and Nyaruguru Districts.

Key factors associated with food insecurity:

(i.) Lack of availability of adequate nutritious foods with high protein-content, vitamins and essential mineral salts e.g. iron mainly affecting pregnant women and under 5 year children.
(ii.) Inadequate household economic status to purchase the available basic foods.
(iii.) Lack of availability of nutritional balance in the regions under survey e.g. resulted in malnutrition and stunted growth of children in some cases.
(iv.) Lack of dietary preferences with only few types of foods availability e.g. common available foods were carbohydrate foods with limited amount of protein-containing foods for the households.
(v.) The limited available foods e.g. small proportion of poultry foods e.g. chicken and eggs were not used for household foods but for sale leaving meager/no protein foods.
(vi.) Limited knowledge of food utilization e.g. the available vegetables and fruits were not considered ‘good’ foods for children or adult people but rather considered foods for the ‘sick’ family members.

Implications:

1.) Overall, these findings indicate the need for interventions aimed at increasing food availability, improved access and increased knowledge and attitude of food utilization in the region.
2.) There is a need for sustainable programs
a. Programs that not only aim at availability of foods, and improved access
b. Importantly, sustainable programs that empower identified inhabitants e.g. women and identified poor/highly economically vulnerable men to work in cooperatives to produce enough foods
c. There is a need to work with local leadership to economical empower the most vulnerable and disadvantaged poor to sell various types of foods through formation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

Future plans:

In line with these findings, RASD Rwanda will aim at interventions in these districts or other identified needy districts on programs such as
1.) poultry farming both egg producing and meat producing chicken;
2.) strengthening availability of one cow per family program;
3.) goat and piggery farming
4.) cultivate vegetable garden and fruits, sauces, local available and nutritious delicacies, and in each district create Fresh Innovative Food-Financing Alliances (FIFFA) programs in identified Sectors of each beneficiary district. The types of foods should be rich in proteins e.g. eggs from grass- and insect-fed chicken, which does not require a large land, takes short time to grow and with no regulatory demands. Retailers within cooperatives would work to distinctly support and sustain (in cooperatives) various programs:
a. Milk collection centers
b. Market centers (created)
c. Goat and poultry farms