African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6688

Full Length Research Paper

Design of an educational framework in introducing an unknown food crop into a farm worker community for ensuring food security

Innike Rajput1*, Hettie C Schönfeldt 2 and Rozanne Kruger1,3        
1Department of Consumer Science, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Pretoria, 0028, Pretoria, South Africa. 2Department of Animal and Wildlife Sciences, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Pretoria, P.O. Box 363, Silverton, 0127, Pretoria, South Africa. 3Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University, Albany, Private Bag102904, North Shore, Auckland, 0745, New Zealand.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 17 May 2012
  •  Published: 28 August 2012

Abstract

This study aims to design an educational framework based on the utilization cycle as a food-based strategy, integrating both agricultural and nutritional components, and also to empower people to improve their food security by introducing an unknown food crop into a specific community based on an in-depth understanding of current practices using known food crops. It was carried out in a rural farm-worker community in the Free State Province of South Africa. An educational framework was designed to guide the nutrition intervention strategy. This strategy was based on information gathered on the utilization of spinach (known crop) and was then applied to design a training manual for the intervention using an unknown crop (orange-fleshed sweet potato) in collaboration with agricultural extension officers. The community was explored at grass-roots level, and the current utilization patterns of spinach were observed. Behaviours, habits and drivers behind utilization was identified and combined with theory to design the educational framework for a food-based intervention. The framework was tested and refined by exposing agricultural officers to it. The design of the strategy is a problem-solution approach, which consists of 4 phases: (1) addressing shortcomings of current diet - not providing the minimum daily requirements for various vitamins and minerals as per the findings of the NFCS, (2) addressing the main underlying causes - which are low consumption of fruits and vegetables, and low dietary diversity, (3) proposed changes – inclusion of OFSP in their diets to not only increase dietary diversity but to also improve the status of vitamin A, and (4) desired outcome – optimal utilization of OFSP through home garden cultivation. By observing the current strategies applied to the utilization of food crops, a framework was designed suitable to the unique local situation of a community to ensure maximum acceptance and application of unknown food crops. By involving agricultural extension officers in the process, the strategy was refined to be used by trainers in any rural community to implement introduction of new food crops to support the community in utilizing the new food crop and to ultimately improve dietary diversity.

 

Key words: Food-based approach, home-gardens, utilization cycle, educational framework, agricultural extension officers, rural farm worker community.