Journal of Food Security
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Journal of Food Security. 2017, 5(3), 75-87
DOI: 10.12691/jfs-5-3-3
Open AccessReview Article

Promotion of Indigenous Food Preservation and Processing Knowledge and the Challenge of Food Security in Africa

Asogwa I.S.1, , Okoye J.I1 and Oni K1

1Department of Food Science and Technology, Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu State, Nigeria

Pub. Date: June 08, 2017

Cite this paper:
Asogwa I.S., Okoye J.I and Oni K. Promotion of Indigenous Food Preservation and Processing Knowledge and the Challenge of Food Security in Africa. Journal of Food Security. 2017; 5(3):75-87. doi: 10.12691/jfs-5-3-3


Africa is faced with dire food security challenge. Despite the fact that Africa remains the continent with greater arable land to feed it growing population and beyond, yet the continent remain the most impoverished in food security. Nearly 240 million people in sub-Saharan Africa lack adequate food for a healthy and active life. There is therefore an urgent need to look for more practical ways to tackle this challenge. One of such ways is the promotion and utilization of indigenous knowledge (IK) of food processing, preservation and storage. Africa is blessed with various types of food produce and also possesses diverse indigenous knowledge systems for their preservation and storage. Using of indigenous knowledge (IK) in solving food shortage therefore remains a powerful means of sustaining household food security. These indigenous methods of food preservation such as sun drying, fermentation, germination and soaking are time tested and has been used by locals over generation to preserve their produce after harvest thereby serving as a survival strategy. Simple, low-cost, traditional food processing techniques are also the bedrock of small-scale food processing enterprises that are crucial to rural development in Africa. Traditional/indigenous foods also provide inexpensive, safe, nutritious foods throughout the whole year thus boosting overall food security. Traditionally, long-term methods like fermentation and drying have been used for fruits and vegetables. They also provide an economic means of preserving food thus making it available during the period of scarcity. Unfortunately, despite these benefits, IK is fast eroding. Factors enhancing this gradual destruction include influence of western culture, changing socio-cultural status of women, lack of documentation, high illiteracy level among women. This review recommends that there is an urgent need to preserve and promote IK as a very important resource. All stakeholders must therefore be involved - governmental, and non-governmental bodies as well as the local people themselves. The inclusion of indigenous knowledge of food processing and preservation into any policy of program geared towards reduction of food insecurity will not only boost the peoples’ confidence on themselves but also in their ability to be part of the solutions to the challenges facing them, thus increasing the chances of success of such programs.

indigenous knowledge food security food preservation food processing food storage

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