Local agro-ecological condition-based food resources to promote infant food security: a case study from Benin

Flora Josiane Chadare*, Nadia Fanou Fogny, Yann Eméric Madode, Juvencio Odilon G. Ayosso, Sèwanou Hermann Honfo, Folachodé Pierre Polycarpe Kayodé, Anita Rachel Linnemann, Djidjoho Joseph Hounhouigan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Children are still undernourished in many developing countries. A way to address this issue is to make better use of local food resources. The present study documents local plant and animal resources used for feeding infants and young children across the agro-ecological zones (AEZ) of Benin, with a focus on the availability of resources and consumption forms. It describes similarities and differences among the AEZs and identifies proposals for infant food formulations at the AEZ level. A literature review was performed and supplemented with a survey in 42 villages of eight AEZs of Benin. The selection of municipalities was based on the prevalence of food insecurity. In total 969 people were interviewed through focus group discussions and individual interviews using pre-established interview checklists and questionnaires. Data were processed with statistical tools, including non-metric dimensional scaling analyses, descriptive statistics and Chi2 test of independence. Results showed disparities in the distribution and use of local food resources for infant foods in the AEZs. AEZ 1 represented by Karimama and AEZ 2 represented by Banikoara (both in the Sudanian zone, with about 900 mm rainfall per year in one long rainy season and one long dry season) had the lowest diversity of local food resources used in children’s feeding, while AEZ 5 represented by Aplahoué and Ouèssè (both in the Guinean zone, with about 1200 mm rainfall per year over two rainy seasons and two dry seasons), and AEZ 8 represented by Adjohoun and Bopa (both in the Guinean zone with about 1200 mm rain per year) had the highest diversity. The baobab tree (Adansonia digitata) and groundnut (Arachis hypogea) were the plant resources recording the highest number of usages for food in general and infant foods in particular. High similarities in the species used for infant food existed among AEZs 5, 6, 7 and 8 whereas AEZ 1 and AEZ 4 had no match with resources used for infants in the other AEZs, mainly due to food cultures and availability. These findings indicate the usefulness and efficiency of an approach to formulate generic infant food formulas based on grouping AEZs with similar resources. Further studies are needed to assess the quantitative availability of local food resources throughout the year, the links between food prices and purchasing power of the population, and to assess the bioavailability of nutrients in infant foods made from local food resources in relation to food preparation methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1013-1031
JournalFood Security
Issue number4
Early online date20 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


  • Agro-ecological zone
  • Complementary foods
  • Infant undernutrition
  • West Africa


Dive into the research topics of 'Local agro-ecological condition-based food resources to promote infant food security: a case study from Benin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this