The importance of livestock for food security and nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa
Sammanfattning: In Sub- Saharan Africa 222 million people suffer from undernourishment, making it the region with the highest prevalence of undernourishment in the world. The prevalence of household livestock ownership is high in the region, making livestock’s influence on undernourishment and food security an interesting aspect to further examine. The aim of this study was to investigate how food security and nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa is affected by having access to livestock and animal source food, focusing on the nutritional values of animal source food and livestock ownership. This study is a literature review and the results are based on scientific articles, books and reports that are relevant for the subject. The current status of malnutrition and food security in the region is presented, followed by the impact of animal source foods on nutrition, growth and cognitive development in children. Positive and negative aspects of household livestock ownership are then described. The direct access to animal source foods can result in improved child growth and daily nutrient intake. Livestock ownership has been shown to increase consumption of animal source food and improve child growth, but also to worsen child nutrition due to an increased risk of zoonotic infections and diarrhea. In conclusion, having access to livestock and animal source food can have a positive impact on nutrition and food security in Sub-Saharan Africa if livestock keeping practices and processing of animal source foods are executed properly. To mitigate the risks of owning livestock and consuming animal source food, resources for and education on these practices are needed.
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