The Value of Women's Indigenous Knowledge in Food Processing and Preservation for Achieving Household Food Security in Rural Sudan
- Fatma Ibnouf
Availability of food supply and access are crucial to achieve household food security. Using of indigenous knowledge in solving food shortage remains a powerful means of sustaining household food security. In rural Sudan women are often responsible for food processing and storage, collecting of water and firewood and for generating incomes for subsistence. The objective of this article is to shed light on women ability to manage available resources by using indigenous knowledge to secure food supplies for their household in rural Sudan. The paper argues that women have more roles and responsibilities in achieving household food security especially among the rural communities of Sudan, since it is woman who is responsible for food processing and preserving to increase its availability. Processing of vegetables, fruits, and milk, in times of abundance for times of scarcity using indigenous techniques such as drying or fermentation is exclusively the women's task in rural Sudan. Traditional/indigenous foods provide inexpensive, safe, nutritious foods throughout the whole year. These indigenous foods contribute to diversify the diet of rural people in normal times and are crucial to their survival during times of food shortage. Thus, these indigenous foods become basis of the survival of the rural community. Trial and error experiments contribute to develop many indigenous techniques and practices for processing and preserving foods at rural community level. Indigenous methods and solutions applied by women to sustain household food supplies are culturally acceptable, economically practicable, and more appropriate for the local environment and conditions than modern techniques and solutions suggested by scientific experts. The article gives a brief description of some indigenous foods from various rural areas of Sudan. Rural women have an important role to play in using and preserving this valuable indigenous knowledge. These local-level experts manage to achieve sustainable food security at household levels, with practical, efficient and economic solutions. Thus, one effective means to achieve household food security in rural Sudan is by learning from the women’s indigenous knowledge and inherent capabilities. The value of women’s indigenous knowledge needs to be better recognized and supported within policy.
- Bella DongEditorial Assistant