Skip to main content

Household access to traditional and indigenous foods positively associated with food security and dietary diversity in Botswana

  • Salome Nduku Kasimba (a1), Boitumelo Stokie Motswagole (a2), Namukolo Margaret Covic (a3) and Nicole Claasen (a4)

To determine access to traditional and indigenous foods (TIF) and the association with household food security, dietary diversity and women’s BMI in low socio-economic households.


Sequential explanatory mixed-methods design, including a random household cross-sectional survey on household food insecurity access (HFIA), household dietary diversity (HDD) and women’s BMI, followed by focus group discussions.


Two rural and two urban areas of Botswana.


Persons responsible for food preparation or an adult in a household (n 400); for BMI, non-pregnant women aged 18–49 years (n 253).


Almost two-thirds of households experienced moderate or severe food insecurity (28·8 and 37·3 %, respectively), but more than half of women were overweight or obese (26·9 and 26·9 %, respectively). Median HDD score was 6 (interquartile range 5–7) out of a total of 12. A positive correlation was found between number of TIF accessed and HDD score (r=0·457; P<0·001) and a negative correlation between number of TIF accessed and HFIA score (r=−0·272; P<0·001). There was no correlation between number of TIF accessed and women’s BMI (r=−0·066; P=0·297). TIF were perceived as healthy but with declining consumption due to preference for modern foods.


TIF may potentially have an important role in household food security and dietary diversity. There is need to explore potential benefits that may be associated with their optimal use on food security and nutrition outcomes.

Corresponding author
* Corresponding author: Email
Hide All
1. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2009) Draft Declaration of the World Summit on Food Security. World Summit on Food Security, Rome, 16–18 November 2009. Rome: FAO.
2. Johns, T, Powell, B, Maundu, P et al. (2013) Agricultural biodiversity as a link between traditional food systems and contemporary development, social integrity and ecological health. J Sci Food Agric 93, 34333442.
3. Johns, T & Eyzaguirre, PB (2006) Linking biodiversity, diet and health in policy and practice. Proc Nutr Soc 65, 182189.
4. Popkin, BM, Adair, LS & Ng, SW (2012) Global nutrition transition and the pandemic of obesity in developing countries. Nutr Rev 70, 321.
5. Statistics Botswana (2015) Annual Agricultural Survey Report 2013. Gaborone: Statistics Botswana; available at
6. Raboloko, M (2016) Determinants of urban household food security in Botswana. J Biomed Clin Sci 1, 1721.
7. Acquah, B, Kapunda, S & Legwegoh, A (2014) The dimensions of urban food insecurity in Gaborone, Botswana. Urban Forum 25, 217226.
8. Botswana Ministry of Agriculture (2016) National Agricultural Policy: 1991. Gaborone: Botswana Ministry of Agriculture.
9. Moseley, WG (2016) Agriculture on the brink: climate change, labor and smallholder farming in Botswana. Land 5, 21.
10. Jackson, MD, Motswagole, BS, Kwape, LD et al. (2013) Validation and reproducibility of an FFQ for use among adults in Botswana. Public Health Nutr 16, 19952004.
11. Crush, J & Frayne, B (2011) Supermarket expansion and the informal food economy in southern African cities: implications for urban food security. J South Afr Stud 37, 781807.
12. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, International Fund for Agricultural Development & World Food Programme (2015) The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015. Meeting the 2015 International Hunger Targets: Taking Stock of Uneven Progress . Rome: FAO.
13. Flyman, M & Afolayan, A (2006) The suitability of wild vegetables for alleviating human dietary deficiencies. S Afr J Bot 72, 492497.
14. Legwaila, GM, Mojeremane, W, Madisa, ME et al. (2011) Potential of traditional food plants in rural household food security in Botswana. J Hortic For 3, 171177.
15. Reardon, T & Gulati, A (2008) The Rise of Supermarkets and Their Development Implications. International Experience Relevant for India. IFPRI Discussion Paper no. 00752. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.
16. Kuhnlein, HV, Erasmus, B & Spigelski, D (2009) Indigenous Peoples’ Food Systems: The Many Dimensions of Culture, Diversity and Environment for Nutrition and Health. Rome: FAO.
17. Botswana Census Report (2011) Botswana Population and Housing Census. Gaborone: Department of Printing and Publishing Services.
18. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (2005) AQUASTAT database. Botswana: Geography, climate and population. (accessed October 2017).
19. Creswell, JW (2008) Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
20. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (2010) Guidelines for Measuring Household and Individual Dietary Diversity. Rome: FAO; available at
21. Action Against Hunger (2014) ACF Nutrition Small Scale SMART Survey Report: Twic East County, Jonglei State, Southern Sudan. New York: ACF.
22. Guest, G, Bunce, A & Johnson, L (2006) How many interviews are enough? An experiment with data saturation and variability. Field Method 18, 5982.
23. Coates, J, Swindale, A & Bilinsky, P (2007) Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) for Measurement of Food Access: Indicator Guide. Washington, DC: Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance Project, Academy for Educational Development; available at
24. Lohman, T, Roche, A & Martorell, R (1988) Anthropometric Standardization Reference Manual Assessment. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Books.
25. World Health Organization (1995) Physical Status: The Use of and Interpretation of Anthropometry. Report of WHO Expert Committee. WHO Technical Report Series no. 854. Geneva: WHO.
26. Vaismoradi, M, Turunen, H & Bondas, T (2013) Content analysis and thematic analysis: implications for conducting a qualitative descriptive study. Nurs Health Sci 15, 398405.
27. Braun, V & Clarke, V (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qual Res Psychol 3, 77101.
28. Statistics Botswana (2013) Botswana Core Welfare Indicators Survey 2009/10. Gaborone: Statistics Botswana; available at
29. Bashir, MK, Naeem, MK & Niazi, SAK (2010) Rural and peri-urban food security: a case of district Faisalabad of Pakistan. World Appl Sci J 9, 403411.
30. Penafiel, D, Termote, C, Lachat, C et al. (2016) Barriers to eating traditional foods vary by age group in Ecuador with biodiversity loss as a key Issue. J Nutr Educ Behav 48, 258268.
31. Maruapula, S & Chapman-Novakofski, K (2007) Health and dietary patterns of the elderly in Botswana. J Nutr Educ Behav 39, 311319.
32. Maruapula, SD, Jackson, JC, Holsten, J et al. (2011) Socio-economic status and urbanization are linked to snacks and obesity in adolescents in Botswana. Public Health Nutr 14, 22602267.
33. Maruapula, SD & Novakofski, C (2010) Nutrient intake and adequacy of Batswana elderly. Afr J Food Agric Nutr Dev 10, 112.
34. Frongillo, EA & Bernal, J (2014) Understanding the coexistence of food insecurity and obesity. Curr Pediatr Rep 2, 284290.
35. Drewnowski, A (2009) Obesity, diets, and social inequalities. Nutr Rev 67, Suppl. 1, S36S39.
36. Hawkes, C & Popkin, BM (2015) Can the sustainable development goals reduce the burden of nutrition-related non-communicable diseases without truly addressing major food system reforms? BMC Med 13, 143.
37. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2010) Expert Consultation on Nutrition Indicators for Biodiversity. 2. Food Consumption. Rome: FAO; available at
38. Burlingame, BA & Dernini, S (editors) (2010) Sustainable Diets and Biodiversity. Directions and Solutions for Policy, Research and Action. Rome: FAO; available at
39. Power, EM (2008) Conceptualizing food security for Aboriginal people in Canada. Can J Public Health 99, 9597.
40. Vorster, HH, Kruger, A & Margetts, BM (2011) The nutrition transition in Africa: can it be steered into a more positive direction? Nutrients 34, 2941.
41. Anand, SS, Hawkes, C, De Souza, RJ et al. (2015) Food consumption and its impact on cardiovascular disease: importance of solutions focused on the globalized food system: a report from the Workshop Convened by the World Heart Federation. J Am Coll Cardiol 66, 15901614.
42. Sharma, S, De Roose, E, Cao, X et al. (2009) Dietary intake in a population undergoing a rapid transition in diet and lifestyle: the Inuvialuit in the Northwest Territories of Arctic Canada. Can J Public Health 100, 442448.
43. Erber, E, Beck, L, De Roose, E et al. (2010) Prevalence and risk factors for self‐reported chronic disease amongst Inuvialuit populations. J Hum Nutr Diet 23, 4350.
44. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2012) Traditional Foods: Better Livelihoods, Dietary Diversity and Health. Rome: FAO; available at
45. Kunyanga, CN, Imungi, JK & Vellingiri, V (2013) Nutritional evaluation of indigenous foods with potential food-based solution to alleviate hunger and malnutrition in Kenya. J Appl Biosci 67, 52775288.
46. Fentahun, MT & Hager, H (2009) Exploiting locally available resources for food and nutritional security enhancement: wild fruits diversity, potential and state of exploitation in the Amhara region of Ethiopia. Food Secur 1, 207219.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 16
Total number of PDF views: 112 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 533 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 26th December 2017 - 15th August 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.