Food Security and Nutrition

Food insecurity and poor nutrition is one of the development issues in Rukwa region despite the factor that the region is one of the major food producers.

Inadequate community awareness on post-harvest food processing and storage as well as inadequate nutritional awareness and education at household level account for household food insecurity and poor nutrition.

To bridge this gap, Peace Relief Organization (PRO) intends to embark on promoting and advocating for food security and nutrition for under- fives and women of child bearing age..

According to the United Republic of Tanzania 2009/10 Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Analysis (CFSVA), the regional distribution of stunting prevalence was not correlated with food consumption patterns, with the highest rates seen in Iringa (54.6%), Rukwa (50.7%) and Kigoma (53.1%), regions that had amongst the lowest percentages of poor food consumption households.

The lowest prevalence of stunting, by contrast, was seen in Dar es Salaam and Kilimanjaro (both with slightly over 20 percent stunted).

Food insecurity and poor nutrition among the poor and marginalized communities is caused by a number of factors. They include but are not limited by inadequate agricultural productivity due to poor access to agricultural extension services. Inadequate knowledge and skills among the rural communities on post-harvest management of food crops contribute to post-harvest crop loss.

Shortage of knowledge and skills on food processing and preservation is an important contributing factor for household food insecurity. Inadequate nutrition education among women of child bearing age is another contributing factor.

Nutrition awareness among Tanzanian population is low. Persistence of malnutrition in many rural areas in Tanzania that are considered relatively food secure speaks volume about inadequate knowledge and awareness on good nutrition. Inadequate nutrition awareness partly explains why nutrition is not put high in the development agenda at both Local and Central Government levels. Thus, Peace Relief Organization (PRO) should consider embarking on community awareness on the importance of good nutrition for maximized human potential.

Nutrition education is not adequately covered in both primary and secondary schools in Tanzania. Only 74 secondary schools in Tanzania and two teacher training colleges at diploma level teach nutrition as one of the core subjects. Curricula at primary, secondary and college levels have a lot to be desired in regard to nutrition coverage.

Thus PRO should consider teaming up with other CSOs in advocating for development and roll out of curricula to ensure that the syllabus adequately cover nutrition education at primary and secondary school levels as well as teacher training colleges. Success on this proposed initiative will significantly contribute to laying a foundation for nutrition awareness and practice among adolescent girls and Women of Reproductive Age.