Assessment of factors influencing farmers’ nutrition knowledge and intake of traditional African vegetables in Tanzania
Traditional African Vegetables (TAVs) form a significant component of many families’ diets in Tanzania. Traditional African Vegetables contribute to reduction of malnutrition, stunting and poor health among consumers by providing vitamins and essential minerals in family diets. However, the consumption of vegetables is still below the per capita per day intake level recommended by World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization, causing millions of deaths annually due to nutrientdeficiency related diseases. This study examined the factors that influence the nutrition knowledge, frequency intake and farming households’ attitudes towards consumption of traditional vegetables. The Standard Poison and the Generalized Poison models were used for analysis. Factor analysis was used to assess the attitudes towards TAVs consumption. Data were collected from randomly selected 63 households in Arumeru District of Tanzania in the months of July to November 2015. Generalized Poison model results showed that gender of the respondent, years of schooling, age of the respondent, household size and TAVs farm size influenced farmers’ nutrition knowledge. Frequency intake of TAVs is influenced by the farmers’ age, annual household income, household size, TAVs farm size and market price of TAVs. Factor analysis results indicated that medicinal properties of traditional vegetables positively influenced farmers’ intake of vegetables. The “health factor” accounted for 31.4% of the total variance in the principal components analysis. ‘Personal perception factor’ accounted for 13.79% whereas ‘personal taste factor’ accounted for 12.71% of the total variance. It was concluded that rural farming households consume traditional vegetables majorly because of their health attributes. Thus, there is need to improve medicinal and nutritional knowledge of these crops among households. These findings imply that consumption of TAVs can be enhanced by educating households on nutrition importance and medicinal attributes of TAVs. Besides, farmers need training on simple but user-friendly technologies that could prolong storage and preserve freshness as well as nutritional contents of traditional vegetables.
Keywords: Traditional vegetables, nutrition knowledge, frequency intake, farmers’ attitude, Arumeru District