Adding value to cassava to enhance protein and vitamin a levels in cassava product for Pre-school children in Busia county
Nungo, Rhoda A
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Busia County is a flood-prone zone with food deficits and 67% of the population live below the poverty line. Cassava (Manihot esculenta) is the second most important staple food in the county and it is deficient in protein and vitamin A, nutrients essential for growing children below five years. This study was carried out with the objective of enhancing nutrient value of cassava through home fortification. The study was done in three phases: Phase (i) baseline survey assessed nutrition status of under-five child population; Phase (ii) product development and evaluation and Phase (iii) technology transfer to women/farmer groups. A cross sectional survey was conducted using a structured questionnaire. Data were collected for, anthropometric measurements on children below five years, a 24-hour food re-call, socio- economic characteristics, cassava utilization and group membership. In Phase (ii) products were designed and developed in a food laboratory. Products were processed in a homestead and cyanide HCN and weight recovered determined. Consumer sensory evaluation and selection of two most preferred products was done on-farm by two women/farmer groups. Selected products were subjected to proximate chemical and microbiological analysis. In Phase Three product technology was transferred to two women/farmer groups, while developing good manufacturing practice (GMP) protocol specific to the product. The products made were subjected to proximate chemical and microbiological analysis. Data were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences, Version 13.0, Excel and ANOVA. Means, SD, CV and descriptive statistics were used to organize and summarize data. Results showed a total of 320 households with 61.6% female and 38.4% male respondents participated. A total of 232 children with mean age, 33±13.85 months, xvi weight 13.2 ±3.34 kilograms, and mean height 88.3 ±16.98 centimetres participated. Child nutrition status was found to be poor, 14‘9%, 2.6% and 5.5%, severely stunted, underweight and wasted respectively. Farm ownership was a strong positive determinant of nutrition status. Cassava was consumed by most, 94.3%, households with poor child nutrition status, <-2SD and <-3 SD, being H/A, 11.4%, 14.3%, W/A, 4.9%, 2.4% and W/H, 0.0%, 5.1% respectively. Eight staples including cassava were used for weaning, and 66.4% of the children were fed three times daily. Statistical significant relationships were found between: staples for weaning children by education level, occupation of household head and cassava utilization, p=.000, df=42, p=.000, df=49, p=.000, df=14 respectively. The results showed nine processing stages with final product weight recovered mean value of 6.3kg (CV=26.68%} and cassava Cyanide HCN level 10mg/kg (CV=0.00%) dry weight. Forty three farmers, mean age 32.6 years from Buyofu and Township locations participated in sensory evaluation and product selection. The grand mean and CV values for appearance, flavour, taste and acceptability were, 4.82 (32.7%), 4.614 (27.4%), 4.6 (26%) and 4.609 (24.9%) respectively. Product 2 and product 3 were selected as most preferred with mean values for acceptability in Township and Buyofu, product2 (6.25, 5.421), product3 (6.042, 5.842) respectively. Product 5 was the least acceptable, mean values, 2.542, 2.421, Township and Buyofu. Proximate results showed mean and CV values 5.6g (12.58%) and 212.5mg (40.75%) for enhanced protein and β – carotene respectively. Microbiological results indicated both products 2 and 3 had low total plate count, 6.35x10², cfu/ml: 6.25x10², cfu/ml, respectively. Product 2 had no coliforms, cfu/ml at 10-1 and product 3 had 2.0x10², cfu/ml. Technology transfer results showed 43 farmers from Township and Buyofu participated. The mean harvest period of cassava used was 18.25 months (CV=63.84) and technology was transferred xvii using nine processing stages. The final product weight recovered was 5.75 kg (23%), (CV=16.65%) and cassava cyanide HCN level,10mg/kg, (0.00%) mean and CV values respectively. Nutrient enhancement for protein and βeta-carotene mean and CV values, 4.6g (30.9%):and 210.4mg (33.2%) respectively. Results revealed there was no growth of coliforms or staphylococcus at count of 10² and a GMP specific to the study product was developed. Cassava was confirmed to contribute to poor child nutrition status though it cushioned against hunger. This study demonstrated it is possible to use locally available high nutrient foods to produce an acceptable and replicable home-based nutrient enhanced cassava product. The 23% final product weight recovered was below the expected 25% for economic value. This could be improved by processing cassava with uniform appropriate age and proper handling in processing. The Cyanide HCN level in the final product was found to conform to the FAO/WHO safe levels. The absence of coliforms and staphylococcus in the technology transferred product conforms to ICMSF requirements shows the products were processed safely using good manufacturing practise. Based on FAO/WHO recommended safe levels of protein and vitamin A intake for infants and children, the groups products have on average the potential of contributing, 46.9%, 27.6% protein and 105.2mg, 52.6mg βeta-carotene, for Township, Buyofu respectively per day if the children were to consume 100g of study product. The developed GMP will go a long way in ensuring future sustainability of good processing practice for safe products in the community.