Fruit production and consumption: Practices, preferences and attitudes of women in rural western Kenya
This study in the Food Security Journal identified practices, preferences, attitudes and decision-making for fruit consumption, production, and the use of income generated from these activities. Additionally, it assessed the contribution of fruits to closing nutritional gaps in Western Kenya during two different seasons (rainy and dry). Two cross-sectional surveys were conducted, during which the same respondents were interviewed, with a total of 272 women responsible for food preparation in the household participating. This study found that fruit consumption is far below the recommended amount of fruits per day. Yet, this study was able to show that fruits contribute significantly to closing the nutrient gap of vitamin A and C during the dry season and their increased availability and consumption during both seasons could help to close the remaining nutrient gaps identified. As most respondents stated that they would like to eat more fruits, the situation in the study area is one of high potential demand and interest but low or inconsistent supply. Even though most households grew fruit, the diversity of fruits produced and consumed was rather low. In addition to developing suitable production-side interventions, there is a need to improve consumption through integrated agriculture-nutrition interventions. These programs should consider local practices, preferences and cultural attitudes in order to promote the consumption of a diversity of nutrient rich fruits and consequently better diets and nutrition.