Proceedings of the Nutrition Society

Research Article

The food multimix concept: new innovative approach to meeting nutritional challenges in Sub-Saharan Africa

F. B. Zotora1 c1 and P. Amunaa1

a1 Department of Life Sciences, University of Greenwich, School of Science, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, UK

Abstract

Food insecurity, chronic hunger, starvation and malnutrition continue to affect millions of individuals throughout the developing world, especially Sub-Saharan Africa. Various initiatives by African governments and International Agencies such as the UN, the industrial nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation to boost economic development, have failed to provide the much-needed solution to these challenges. The impact of these economic shifts and the failures of structural adjustment programmes on the nutritional well-being and health of the most vulnerable members of poor communities cannot be over-emphasised. The use of ad hoc measures as an adjunct to community-based rural integrated projects have provided little success and will be unsustainable unless they are linked to harnessing available local resources. The present paper therefore focuses on exploring alternative ways of harnessing the scant agricultural resources by employing a scientific approach to food-related problem-solving. The food multimix (FMM) concept offers a scientific contribution alongside other attempts currently in use by the World Food Programme, WHO and FAO to meet the food insecurity challenges that confront most of the developing world in the twenty-first century. It is an innovative approach that makes better use of traditional food sources as a tool for meeting community nutritional needs. The FMM concept employs a food-based approach using traditional methods of food preparation and locally-available, cheap and affordable staples (fruits, pulses, vegetables and legumes) in the formulation of nutrient-enriched multimixes. Developed recipes can provide ≥40% of the daily nutritional requirements of vulnerable groups, including patients with HIV/AIDS and children undergoing nutrition rehabilitation. The FMM approach can also be used as a medium- to long-term adjunct to community-based rural integration projects aimed at health improvement and economic empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Correspondence:

c1 Corresponding author: Dr F. B. Zotor, fax +44 208 331 9805, email F.B.Zotor@gre.ac.uk