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Tropentag, September 14 - 16, 2022, Prague

"Can agroecological farming feed the world? Farmers' and academia's views."

Nexus of seasonality, dietary practice, and nutritional status among children across agro-ecologies in southern Ethiopia

Dagem Ayele1, Jan Frank2, Samson Gebreselassie3

1Hawassa university, College of agriculture , department human nutrition, food science and post harvest technology, Ethiopia
2University of hohenheim, Institute of nutritional sciences
3Addis ababa university, School of public health


The disparity in seasonality and agro-ecological zone in food availability and access contribute to poor nutrition and attributes in malnutrition mainly in subsistence agricultural farming communities. However, a limited number of studies considered these dynamics. Thus, the present study aimed to assess the relationship among seasonality, agro-ecology, nutritional status, and infant and young child (6-23 months) feeding practice (IYCF) in rural Southern Ethiopia. To this end, two community-based cross-sectional surveys were employed in 507 children screened using multi-stage sampling method. On average 74 % of the mothers was initiated timely complementary feeding, highest in lowland 81.3 %. Infant diet diversity score (IDDS) improved from post-harvest 14.4 % to wet lean season 16.4%. Despite the agro-ecological disparity, more than 50 % of the children met minimum meal frequency (MMF). Consumption of pro-vitamin A foods, grains, roots, and tubers, and other fruits and vegetables showed significant differences across seasons (McNemar’s test, p<0.05). In contrast seasonal variation has no association with consumption of either iron-rich or animal source foods. Similarly prevalence of stunting and wasting significantly different across season (Wilcoxon signed rank test, p <.001.). The highest prevalence in stunting was 44.6 % in midland during wet lean season followed by 36.4 % and 33.9 % in lowlanders and highlanders children respectively. On the other hand, the prevalence of wasting was noted almost unwavering during postharvest 7.2 %, 7.1 %, and 7.2 % highland, midland, and lowland respectively, but dropped significantly to 1.2 %, 1.6 %, and nearly zero respectively in the wet lean season.
In the current study the multivariate analysis result revealed low socioeconomic, socio-demographic characteristics and poor feeding practice, child age, low maternal educational level, timely complementary feeding initiation, access to media, colostrum feeding, low non-monetary wealth, low household annual income contributed to child malnutrition and poor IYCF at (p < 0.05). Therefore, to improve the current inadequate IYCF practice and alleviate malnutrition, policy should focus on rural women's employment opportunities, access to media, maternal education, and postnatal care service.

Keywords: Agroecology, dietary practice, seasonality, stunting and child-nutrition

Contact Address: Dagem Ayele, Hawassa university, College of agriculture , department human nutrition, food science and post harvest technology, Hawassa university, 05 Hawassa, Ethiopia, e-mail: dagemalem@hu.edu.et

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