Contribution of native fruits to alleviation of poverty and malnutrition in rural areas in Mozambique
Paper in proceedings, 2016
In Mozambique, 80% of the population depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, and 64% are food insecure. Malnutrition is the major health problem in some rural areas, and this is related to micro- and macronutrient deficiency. Irregular food availability throughout the year caused by seasonality and critical events contributes to this situation. The main cause of malnutrition, particularly in women and children, is insufficient intake of foods rich in micronutrients. During the dry season, native fruits play an important and crucial role in ensuring food security and, in many cases, are becoming the only way of survival for rural families. This study examined the potential use of native fruits as an alternative source of nutrients for alleviating malnutrition in Mozambique. Two key native fruits, Strychnos spinosa and Strychnos madagascariensis, were identified, and their chemical and nutritional Ipotential determined. The results showed that both products are rich in sugar and fiber, as well as in vitamins A and C. The fat content of S. spinosa pulp (0.15%) was much lower than that of S. madagascariensis (64%). Protein content was relatively low in both products. Mineral content analysis showed that both of these fruits are highly nutritional, being rich in K, Na, Mg, and Ca, and also in the essential microelements Cu, Zn, and Fe. For these reasons, they may contribute in a significant way to alleviation of poverty and malnutrition in Mozambique.