Tanzanian food security and health

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Food insecurity- When individuals or households do not access to food that is of good nutritional value to meet their dietary requirements and is safe for them to consume. This can be influenced socially, economically, politically and physically

Food security

 

Food security and consumption levels are linked to nutritional status and the overall health of a country. A field survey was carried out in 2,772 rural households to gain information on the food consumption and food security levels of these regions.

In Tanzania, the status of food consumption is heavily linked to the level of food security. Issues that may affect the food security of the country are economic growth, agricultural policy, education, health care provision and governance.

The levels of food insecurity are higher in regions such as Dodoma, Tabora and Singida where 45-55% of households are food insecure and 24- 27% of these households are vulnerable to food insecurity. Other regions such as Mwanza, Kagera and Manyara have food insecurity levels that are slightly lower and are present in 20-30% of households.

The level of food insecurity is high within Tanzania. 15% of rural households are food insecure, with 15% more at risk of becoming food insecure.

Food consumption is found to be poor in all households. Small farmers, wage labourers and household with low income are shown to have poor food consumption levels.

When levels of nutrition were measured, 5.6% of children under 5 were suffering from wastage or were underweight for their height with symptoms of acute malnutrition.

34.4% of children under 5 showed signs of stunting and were chronically malnourished and 21.1% of children were underweight.

(United Nations World Food Programme, 2007).

Food consumption patterns.

 

The nutrient consumed the most in Tanzania in all age groups is found to be carbohydrates. Of this food group, maize, rice and cassava were used most. Green vegetables are also consumed along with beans or peas.

In both rural and urban areas of Tanzania, the dish ugali was the most frequently consumed food. Tea with sugar is also popular along with sweet potatoes, coconut, rice and cassava.

The main differences in urban and rural food consumption is that in urban areas individuals usually eat 3 meals a day and bread is used as well as milk, meat and animal products.

In rural areas, 2 meals a day are usually eaten. Tea with sugar, coconut, cassava, papaya and peas are the most commonly consumed foods.

(Mazango et al, 1997)