Sesame - high energy health food
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CTA. 2003. Sesame - high energy health food. Rural Radio Resource Pack 03/02.Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57327
The Executive Director of the National Women Sesame Farmers' Association in The Gambia explains the nutritional and income-generating values of the crop, particularly for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Cue: For women farmers who are pregnant or breastfeeding, the need for high energy foods, such as vegetable oils, is especially great. Without them, both women and their children risk becoming malnourished and sick. However, the time before and after childbirth is also a time when women?s ability to farm is constrained, making them less able to grow the food they need. How to solve this problem? One approach which has been benefiting women in The Gambia for over twenty years is growing sesame. This high oil content crop can withstand drought and poor management better than most other crops, and can also fetch a good price in the marketplace. To find out more about the advantages of growing sesame for women farmers and their families, Ismaila Senghore spoke to Dr Kujay Manneh, Executive Director of the National Women Sesame Farmers? Association of The Gambia. IN: ?Sesame is a very high oil ?? OUT: ??with especially for women.? DUR?N 3?46? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Dr Kujay Manneh, on the advantages of sesame growing for women farmers in The Gambia. Transcript Manneh Sesame is a very high oil content crop, it is about 50% of it is oil when you process it and therefore because of the higher oil content it?s a very high dense source of energy. And traditionally energy has been a limiting factor in The Gambia especially at that time when before the introduction of this oil programme marasmus was an issue in this country when children will be wasting away. So having high calorie food in the family readily available by themselves, they don?t have to have cash to get it they can produce it and process it and eat it even at their own level of processing. Senghore Now has this in any way increased their productivity? Manneh Of course; naturally there is a natural link between health and agriculture. If you are not well nourished your energy output is too low, your total output in production would also be very low. Its like the egg and the chicken, which one comes first? You have to have food to be well but you have to have the energy to produce food. So in terms of having the family well fed and also with the anticipation of having an additional cash from this crop overall it helps a lot in terms of increasing their motivation even to produce more. Senghore Dr Manneh healthy people are definitely more likely to produce more crops than sick people as you said and thereby earn more income. Now is there any case, justification about this? Manneh I don?t think I need to do a case study to know that a weak person certainly won?t produce much compared to a healthy person in terms of area coverage. Overall what I will say is the activeness of the groups, like we work with women?s groups, we are working with 48 thousand women in the country on this crop. So we see the level of motivation, the activeness, their responsiveness to programmes are all indicators of good health which is linked very highly to nutrition. Senghore In a sense you will say they are now able also to accrue more income whereby they can meet their medical bills and also take care of other health problems and the feeding of the family? Manneh Well I will first of all start by saying preventive health is better than curative health and therefore if they are healthy they reduce the level of need for curative health. And as a result and in addition to the fact that they have probably higher incomes now than without the sesame intervention because the sesame is really a cash crop for them and it brings direct cash income into the family. That income is a disposable income that is available to them to use for food, to use for medicine. Of course it is still very limited if you take the overall budget requirements of the farmers we still have a lot of work to do to build on the achievements of this programme and we are trying to do that. Senghore Now finally doctor, could you give me any practical advice to people who might be in similar situations either in The Gambia or elsewhere world-wide? Manneh In terms of linking it directly with agriculture and health the relationship is too obvious. Very often we tend to introduce projects that are too labour intensive, difficult to manage and those are not useful for women who have very long hours. The involvement in the family is so high that they spend so much time doing work that whatever innovations we want to offer them they must take into consideration the time-need of the women and the drudgery. They must be linked, they must be activities that recognise these problems of the communities we work with especially for women. End of track.