Food security and nutrition in coconut based-households: A case study of Nvuma, Ghana
AbstractA food security and nutrition survey was conducted in 2005 on 25 coconut-based households at Nvuma and its environs, a typical coconut growing community in the Nzema East District of the Western Region, Ghana. The objective was to understand the concepts, determinants and consequences of food insecurity and hunger, as core indicators of nutrition, for future programme planning and implementation. Data was collected using a structured questionnaire administered through face-to-face interview. The mother in the household was the main respondent. The survey indicated a mean family size of seven. Majority of the respondents affirmed that there is food insecurity and nutrition is under threat. The children too have no access to a balanced diet. Adults cope with their food insecure conditions by borrowing money to buy or credit food, ate
less per meal, skipping meals, substitute commonly eaten food with cheaper ones and ate the same kind of food or even going without food for a day or more. Some of them have taken up backyard gardening by planting cassava, plantain and vegetables to enhance their intake of coconut and oil palm products. Other food products such as milk and milk products, snacks, beef, etc are either eaten monthly or not at all. This reflects the poverty level in the community. Increased food production and availability in the market does not necessarily ensure food security
or improved nutrition to the individuals or at the household level as it may not be accessed by hunger-affected individuals or households.