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Drivers of food choices for pastoralists / agro pastoral communities in the Somali region of eastern Ethiopia

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Document pages: 8 pages

Abstract: Background although nutrition is one of the priorities of the Ethiopian government, the progress of nutrition indicators of herdsmen agro pastoral communities is lower than the national figure, which may be due to poor decision-making on food selection, which is poorly understood. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore the driving factors of food choice of pastoralists agro pastoral communities in Somalia, eastern Ethiopia. Materials and methods. From May 7 to 27, 2018, qualitative research was conducted in 16 focus group discussions (FGD) and 6 key informant interviews (Kii). Participants are purposefully selected. Somali native speakers had previous experience in qualitative data collection, and they collected data. All data collected have been cleaned up, codd, sorted, categorized, and analyzed line-by-line. Content analysis was used to drive the key themes and sub-themes. Results. The study found that the commonest food item usually consumed by the community was porridge (“Shurow”), which is made from wheat or corn flour. The porridge is sometimes mixed with milk or butter. Besides, they consume boiled bean, wheat or sorghum (“Garaw”) that is mixed with oil or sugar. However, the consumption of fruits and vegetables was rare and seasonal. These all indicate that their feeding habit was monotonous with poor food choice decisions. The reported driving factors of food choice included drought, income, cost, availability and quality of foods, market access, familiarity with new foods, knowledge of nutritious foods, and health status of individuals. Conclusions. The food choice of the community was poor in the study area. Therefore, the health and agricultural sectors should work together to improve the feeding habits of this community by improving their knowledge and the availability of nutritious foods.

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