A Hub of Food Amid of Nutrition Insecurities: Exploring Food and Nutrition Situations in Rural Areas of Tanzania

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Hadijah Mbwana
Nyamizi Bundala


Food security, nutrition situations, rural farming, rural


A cross sectional study was conducted and involved 351 households from two regions where participants were mother/caregiver-child pairs. This paper discloses the challenges and opportunities of food and nutrition situations in the areas using lessons from Morogoro and Dodoma regions, Tanzania. Data were collected through an inventory food production questionnaire, focus group discussions, observation and documentation on preparation, cooking and consumption practices. The study revealed several opportunities regarding food and nutrition situations including; availability of arable land for cultivation of diverse crops, ownership of arable land by 75% of study population, and diverse crop production, where about 80% of households cultivate 2-3 food crops. In addition, existence of manpower for agriculture production was evidenced by household composition of more than 3 adults capable of participating in agriculture production. Seasonal availability of fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables was also among the opportunities noted. Despite the documented opportunities, 82% of households participated in subsistence farming and depended on rain fed agriculture, this led to low productivity per acre and seasonal scarcity of foods. Poor nutrition status of children and women coupled by frequent illnesses was noted. Prevalence of stunting was 40.5% and underweight was 14.5%, prevalence of overweight for women was also high in the villages. Furthermore, limited skills on food preparations and sub-optimal dietary practices such as low dietary diversity, low consumption of fruits and animal source foods prevailed in the areas. The importance of addressing the challenges is highlighted including promoting diversified and sustainable agriculture by educating farmers on the importance of producing, consuming and sustaining diversified diets. Also, increasing nutrition awareness on the importance of good nutrition for economic development and productive life.

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