Food preservation and security at household level in rural Nsukka, Enugu State, Nigeria

  • V Ibeanu
  • N Onuoha
  • E Ezeugwu
  • R Ayogu
Keywords: Rural, Households, Food preservation

Abstract

Household food security exists when members at all times have physical and economic access to adequate, safe, acceptable and nutritious foods to meet their daily requirements and food preferences for an active and healthy life. Preservation of post-harvest surpluses makes local staples available and affordable during off season. In Nigeria, food insecurity at the household level can partly be attributed to poor preservation of post-harvest surpluses. This study sought to demonstrate a relationship (if any) between preservation of post harvest surpluses and food security at rural household level. Eha-Alumona and Opi-Uno, in Nsukka, Enugu State were the two rural communities selected because they have
farming as their major occupation. Interviews and questionnaires were used to elicit information on socio-economic characteristics, foods preserved and methods, problems encountered and effect of
preservation on food security of two hundred households. Data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics and results presented as frequencies and percentages. About 42% of households partly
produced and partly purchased foods, while 17% depended solely on family food production. Most households (90%) preserved foods mainly by sun-drying cereal, legumes, vegetables and roots/tubers. All
the households (100%) stored palm oil in bottles or jars while 87.5% smoked meat/fish. Sun-dried foods were perceived wholesome until used by 61.5% households. About 62% households consumed their
preserved foods, 19% sold, while 19.4% consumed part and sold part. Sixty-four percent (64%) were food-secure which they attributed to preservation of post-harvest surpluses. However, 36% did not have
enough because of spoilage and rodent/ insect attack. Hunger at rural household level can be reduced if post harvest surpluses are properly preserved. The Nigerian local government should encourage
community food preservation through cooperative societies, provision of necessary infrastructure, funding and education.
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