The use of palm weevil larvae as a food fortification approach for women of reproductive age in Ghana.

Abstract

Entomophagy or the practice of consuming insects, is carried out in several regions in Ghana. Palm weevil larvae (akokono) are the most commonly consumed species by natives in most rural societies. There is a growing consensus that edible insects could play a role in alleviating food insecurity and treating nutritional issues, such as iron deficiency anemia (IDA) considering the quality and quantity of the iron they contain. In Ghana, IDA is still a prevalent public health problem among women of reproductive age (WRA). As such, there is a need for innovative strategies to treat and prevent IDA, while contributing to WRA’s livelihoods. No study has yet examined the potential of using akokono in food fortification as an alternative treatment for IDA. This study aims to: (i) determine the facilitators and barriers associated with akokono consumption and marketability within selected communities in the Ashanti region; (ii) assess the purchase intent and acceptability of an akokono fortified food product specific to Ghanaian women’s culture and nutritional needs, and (iii) identify the socio-economic and demographic determinants for household food access among Ghanaians by using Gallup World Poll data gathered from 2014 to 2019. A mixed-methods approach will be used where focus group discussions, in-depth interviews, mind mapping, questionnaires, surveys, and sensory evaluations will be conducted. The information generated will contribute to the body of knowledge on palm weevil larva’s benefits, and it will inform on its potential effectiveness in food fortification in Ghana.

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