Authors: Jane Servin*, Macalester
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Food Systems, Africa
Keywords: food insecurity, nutrition, Burkina Faso, dietary diversity, wild
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 4
Presentation Link: Open in New Window
Mainstream development thinking suggests that increasing wealth will lead to improved diets, yet this fails to take into account the complexities of food access, gender, and household dynamics. It also leaves out the impacts of shifting diets and livelihoods. In Burkina Faso, development initiatives have focused on increasing agricultural yield to alleviate hunger. However, relatively wealthy areas of the country are still experiencing widespread food insecurity. Foraged and native plants play a key role in rural diets, providing necessary micronutrients. This research investigates the use of native plants for nutrition among women rice farmers and their households in Southwestern Burkina Faso. I examine the connections between native plant consumption, wealth, and dietary diversity by exploring three questions. First, is there a relationship between wild and semi-wild plant consumption and wealth, and - if so- how can this relationship be explained? Second, is there a relationship between wild and semi-wild plant consumption and dietary diversity and - if so- how can this relationship be explained? Third, how does seasonality impact the consumption of wild and semi-wild plants for nutrition? I address these questions by using data collected through semi-structured interviews with approximately 160 women over the 2016-2020 period. The sample covers women rice farmers from five villages in southwestern Burkina Faso near the city of Bobo Dioulasso and includes multiple seasons. The participants are involved in a larger study that assesses the impacts of a rice commercialization initiative on women farmers in their villages.