Honors Project - Open Access
Mainstream development thinking suggests that increasing agricultural production will increase wealth and lead to improved diets. However, this perspective does not account for the complexities of food access, gender, and household dynamics. In Burkina Faso, development initiatives focus on increasing agricultural yield to alleviate hunger, but relatively wealthy areas are still experiencing widespread food insecurity. Wild plants play a key role in rural diets and serve as a nutritional safety net. This research investigates the use of wild 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 use data collected through semi-structured interviews with 131 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. The participants are involved in a larger study that assesses the impacts of a rice commercialization initiative in their villages. Ultimately, I find that wild foods are important for dietary diversity, especially for poor households, and I argue that governments and commercialization projects should prioritize wild foods in rural diets.
Servin, Jane, "The Hidden Safety Net: Wild and Semi-wild Plant Consumption and Nutrition Among Women Farmers in Southwestern Burkina Faso" (2021). Geography Honors Projects. 66.
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