Sorghum is considered a staple food for most rural communities in Kenya. Sorghum is mainly favoured for its ability to thrive in adverse climatic conditions. This study was carried out to determine sorghum consumption in selected rural communities in western Kenya. This was done by determining how much sorghum the children aged 2-5 years consume daily, what the consumption patterns of sorghum are and also to determine if biofortification of sorghum with protein, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, iron and zinc will make any significant contribution to the children‘s nutrient intake. A cross-sectional food consumption survey was conducted using an interviewer administered Quantitative Food Frequency Questionnaire (QFFQ) to 102 mothers and caregivers. The QFFQ was run concurrently with focus group interviews as data collection tools. The results indicated that the diet consumed by the children in the selected communities offered a variety of foods resulting in sufficient nutrient intake for the majority of the children. The daily contribution made by sorghum, however, was low with 36.4 g soft porridge (uji) and 26.2 g stiff porridge (ugali) being the average amounts given daily to the children. The nutrient contribution made by sorghum was; energy 140 kJ (2%), protein 0.9 g (1.7%), iron 0.3 mg (4.3%), zinc 0.1 mg (2.1%), Vitamin A (0%), Vitamin E (0%). The proportion of the population who consumed a diet deficient in one or more of these nutrients was 36.3% energy, 4.9% protein, 48% iron, 21.6% zinc, 46.1% Vitamin A and 17.6% Vitamin E. The small contribution made by sorghum to the diet made it a minor component in the children‘s diet. For the deficient children, the insufficient nutrient intake from the diet is an indication that the diet quantity rather than the quality needs to be improved. A multiple dietary approach that is practical and sustainable for rural people through dietary diversification would be more beneficial. The multiple dietary approach would ensure that people consume a variety of locally available foods that contain a rich source of micronutrients and energy in order to address shortfalls in the diet quality and quantity. Biofortification of sorghum would not make any significant contribution to the children‘s nutrient intake because of the fact that the children are consuming a very small amount of sorghum daily. For biofortification of sorghum to make a significant difference in the children‘s nutrient intake in these communities, the people in these communities need to be encouraged to consume more sorghum than they are currently consuming. Educating the rural communities about the importance of growing locally adapted crops such as sorghum and incorporating them in their diets would assist in improving the micronutrient status of rural people.
Dissertation (dissertation)--University of Pretoria, 2009.