Poor dietary quality is an underlying contributor to the high rates of maternal and child undernutrition in Timor-Leste. The majority of households own livestock: however, the consumption of domestic animal-source food (ASF) is low, and there are few reports of the utilisation of non-domesticated species. This mixed-methods study was conducted in three villages from mid-2015 to mid-2017. Two hundred and three households with children under 24 months were enrolled in the quantitative study of maternal and child dietary diversity. To explore factors affecting household ASF consumption, 12 key informants were recruited for in-depth interviews and 312 participants, mostly mothers and fathers of young children, for focus group discussions. Participants expressed a desire to consume more ASF. Barriers to ASF consumption include having low income or limited income streams, high levels of small livestock morbidity and mortality leading to small or unstable flock or herd sizes, reserving livestock for sale and ceremonies, and living far from forested areas or where hunting is not allowed. Factors that enable greater ASF consumption include villages being located near forested areas with wild animal populations, those that observe a large number of ceremonies of long duration, households with a greater number of small livestock, and where women are able to make autonomous decisions about livestock assets. Findings suggest that policies and programs designed to achieve sustainable improvements in household nutrition would include a focus on women and improving the health and production of small livestock species frequently utilised by households.
Food Security – Springer Journals
Published: May 16, 2018
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