Contents - Previous - Next
This is the old United Nations University website. Visit the new site at http://unu.edu
THE IVORY COAST DATA ANALYSIS
The Ivory Coast National Household Food Consumption and Budgetary Survey was conducted in 1979 /8). In addition to the usual objectives of such surveys, it has two additional goals:
This sample included 720 households in Abidjan and an equal number in other urban areas, all surveyed for one week. In rural areas, 720 households sampled were surveyed for one week, four times during the year, in order to cover seasonal variations. Data collected included, besides usual socioeconomic data on individuals and households, all food items (plus water and fuel) entering the kitchens, person and money movements in and out of the household, plus a detailed record of the activities of the members of the households.
Time-Use Data Collection
Time-use data collections were included in the survey with the objective of attributing a monetary value to all work excluded from the conventional definition of economic activities. According to survey designers, such comprehensive work activities were to include not only activities resulting in the production or transformation of goods within or without the monetary circuit, but also all activities performed as services for the household. All spheres of useful household activities were therefore to be counted, including, for example, cash cropping (conventional economic activities), food production for home consumption (home production), water collection (subsistence activities), and washing clothes (domestic activities).
The activities performed in the homestead-and lasting more than 15 minutes-were mostly observed by a surveyor who was responsible only for that household during that week. The activities performed in his absence were recorded by recall shortly after they were performed. Household members below 10 years of age were, unfortunately, excluded from the time use data collection.
During the first quarter of 1979, in the rural areas of the Ivory Coast, the activities of a total of nearly 41,000 person clays were recorded in 720 households for about 6,000 individuals. The results below refer only to that period, the quarter when agricultural work was probably at its minimum.
Food-Related Activities Performed by the Young and the Elderly
This analysis of the data from the Ivory Coast survey was first meant to demonstrate the role of women in food related activities and their contribution to the total household food supply. However, as was the case in Nepal, it also revealed the unexpected share in the household work burden contributed by children and the elderly (tables 8 and 9). Children 10 to 14 years old, in addition to any time spent at school, work more than 21/2 hours a day (table 8). On the other hand, people over 60 years of age still work more than 3 hours a day, and the major share of the workload of these socalled "inactive" age groups is devoted to conventionally defined economic activities.
The heavier work-load of the female population is a constant: girls work 31/2 hours, and boys work just over 2 hours. Females over 60 years work almost 4 hours a day; the male work-load in the same age group is limited to 21/2 hours. This leaves women of all ages with less time for rest, leisure, education, and social activities.
As a result of their work-load, both young and elderly contribute a relevant share of the activities performed in rural households stable 9). Children 10 to 14 years old contribute more than 10 per cent of the time devoted to agricultural production tasks, and this during a season when agricultural work is light. They do play a relevant role in helping women perform their share of food-related activities, in water and fuel collection, supplying the kitchen with food from market or garden plot, and food processing especially.
TABLE 8. Time Allocation (Hours and Minutes) by Age Group and Sex-Rural Areas of the Ivory Coast, First Quarter 1979
|10 to 14 Years||1 5 to 59 Years||Over 60 Years|
|Food-related work||1 h 47 min||1 h 47 min||1 h 47 min||3 h 35 min||3 h 17 min||3 h 25 min||2 h 12 min||1 h 45 min||2 h 2 min|
|Domestic work||22 min||1 h 40 min||57 min||40 min||3 h 45 min||2 h 30 min||22 min||2 h 12 min||1 h 3 min|
|Domestic activities||22 min||1 h 7 min||42 min||39 min||2 h 46 min||1 h 19 min||22 min||1 h 10 min||40 min|
|Cooking meals||0||33 min||1 5 min||1 min||1 h 50 min||1 h 11 min||0||1 h 2 min||23 min|
|Total work burden||2 h 9 min||3 h 27 min||2 h 46 min||4 h 1 5 min||7 h 2 min||5 h 55 min||2 h 14 min||3 h 56 min||3 h 5 min|
|Education||2 h 30 min||2 h 1 2 min||2 h 22 min||7 min||3 min||5 min||0||0||0|
|Social activities||1 h 36 min||1 h 2 min||1 h 20 min||1 h 41 min||47 min||1 h 9 min||1 h 31 min||42 min||1 h 13 min|
|Moving, travelling on foot||42 min||36 min||39 min||38 min||35 min||36 min||28 min||22 min||26 min|
|Other travelling||14 min||9 min||12 min||22 min||7 min||13 min||8 min||4 min||6 min|
|Personal maintenance||1 h 6 min||1 h 9 min||1 h 8 min||1 h 13 min||1 h 15 min||1 h 14 min||1 h 24 min||1 h 27 min||1 h 25 min|
|Rest/leisure||6 h 41 min||6 h 30 min||6 h 36 min||6 h 58 min||5 h 28 min||6 h 4 min||8 h 43 min||8 h 22 min||8 h 35 min|
|Short absences||2 min||2 min||2 min||7 min||2 min||4 min||3 min||5 min||4 min|
|Sleeping||9 h||8 h 51 min||8 h 56 min||8 h 39 min||8 h 41 min||8 h 40 min||9 h 7 min||9 h 3 min||9 h 5 min|
TABLE 9. Contribution by Sex and Age Group in Performing Food-Related Activities (Share Expressed in Raw Percentage)-Rural Areas of the Ivory Coast, First Quarter 1979
|Sale of non-agricultural products||32.4||59.6||8.0||12.4||79.9||7.7||17.8||74.4||7.8|
|Sale of food crops||22.2||56.6||21.2||11.3||83.9||4.8||13.7||77.9||8.4|
|All food-related activities||14.3||75.3||10.4||10.0||5.9||4.1||12.0||81.0||7.0|
The elderly still assume nearly 9 per cent of the hours devoted to agricultural production and some 16 per cent of time devoted to an activity where experience is an asset: gathering of wild foodstuff. All in all, children and the elderly together are responsible for almost 20 per cent of the time devoted to food-related activities.
Time Spent Away from the Village
Another relevant point that emerged from the data analysis was the large share of total time spent by the rural population during that particular season in "long absences" from the village, lasting more than one day. Males are absent more than females in all age groups up to 50 years of age. Absence in the youngest age group corresponds to education out of the village, including periods of time spent in the tutor's home and later to the almost compulsory experience of work and life out of the community group as a preliminary to adulthood. After the age of 25, males increasingly return to the village, while females remain involved in regular long-distance relations with relatives up to their old age. All in all, during that quarter, people were absent for 20 per cent of the survey days.
Work Time of Women Compared to That of Men
Women in the Ivory Coast also work more than men: nearly 7 hours a day in contrast to less than 4 hours for men. Domestic activities (140 minutes) and preparation of meals (almost 2 hours), as in Nepal, make up the same 4 hours in domestic services to which men dedicate an average half hour only. (Child care and rearing are not counted in the hours of domestic service, since in African families they are rarely performed alone.) In addition, women dedicate almost the same time as men to food-related activities.
TABLE 10. Contribution of Females to the Performance of Food-Related Activities Other Than Cooking (Percentage of Total Time Devoted by Household Members to the Activity)-Rural Areas of the Ivory Coast. First Quarter 1979
in Which the
Took Part in
|Other farming work||46.1||374||248|
|On-farm crop processing, storage||48.6||228||155|
|Sale of non-food products||73.0||113||87|
|Sale of food crops||78.0||71||66|
|All food-related activities (except cooking)||54.3||688||665|
Females represented 53.45 per cent of the person-days observed during the survey.
Only the activities of individuals over 10 years old were recorded.
Not only do women account for about half of the long absences recorded during the survey, but they also do half of the travelling on foot, although barely a third of the more comfortable journeys. The 42 per cent educational time they represent must be qualified by looking at relative frequencies: In a society where most households include both boys and girls, by school age, girls are recorded as attending school in only half of the households where children go to school.
Table 10 shows the specific role of girls and women in food-related activities (cooking excluded), where they represent in all 54 per cent of total time spent on these tasks. The table indicates a clearly defined division of labour: women are responsible for wood and water collection, fishing, food processing, and supplying the kitchen with food items by trips to market or the garden. Gathering of wild fruit, nuts, green leaves, and medicinal plants and crop processing and storage are equally shared.
Division among agricultural production tasks cannot be deduced from the data emanating from the first quarter survey. Activity frequencies for these households confirm that agricultural activities are much reduced in this farmer population at that season and are mainly limited to clearing land (in one-third of the households) and harvesting, plus other farming operations on specific crops, mostly cassava, yams, plantain, and vegetables.
Women's Total Household Work Burden
If we want to apply the categories of conventional economic activities, subsistence economic activities, and domestic activities to the Ivory Coast data, we find that the breakdown of the work burden in rural and traditional societies seems to obey rules that transcend differences in both socio-cultural and economic systems and in survey methodologies with their unavoidable approximations (table 11). Women in the Ivory Coast do 66 per cent of the total work burden compared with 64 per cent in Nepal. They do 87 per cent of domestic activities in the Ivory Coast and 86 per cent in Nepal. They also perform 74 per cent of the subsistence economy activities, just a little more than women in Nepal (71 per cent). The only significant difference is in their share in conventionally defined economic activities. Women contribute only 39 per cent of total household time to these activities compared to 49 per cent in Nepal, but the Ivory Coast data refer only to the first quarter of 1979, which is not, as mentioned above, a season when agricultural work is heavy. Nepal data were averaged over the whole year.
TABLE 11. Contribution of Adult* Women and Men to Different Subsystems of Economic Activity ( Time in Hours and Minutes, Work Share Expressed as Percentage of Total Weighted Time)-Rural Areas of the Ivory Coast, First Quarter 1979
Average Hours per Day
Weighted Work Share (%)
|Conventional economic activities (labour-force participation)||2 h 31 min||1 h 25 min||61||39|
|Subsistence economic activities||49 min||1 h 45 min||29||71|
|Above activities combined||3 h 20 min||3 h 10 min||48||52|
|Domestic work||35 min||3 h 38 min||13||87|
|Total productive work burden||3 h 56 min||6 h 48 min||34||66|
* Adults are individuals 15 years old and over.
Women also earn 17 per cent of the total household outside cash income; their external earnings come mostly from sales sales of agricultural crops or small trade (mainly prepared food items). Moreover, due to money transfer within the household, and without assuming that cash earnings equaled money expenditure during the survey week, women spend 70 per cent of external cash earnings. These are primarily for food purchases (80 per cent of their total expenditure), although they represent only 56 per cent of total household expenditure on average (8).
In conclusion, this analysis of the Ivory Coast survey data confirms the role women play in every household activity and especially in food-related activities. Further, thanks to the detailed record of the physical quantities of food items supplied to the households surveyed, it allows an estimate in nutritional and economic terms of the true contribution of women to the household food supply.
Women's Contribution to Household Food Supply
Surveyors recorded all food items-plus water and fuel-arriving in the kitchen and attributed each item to the member of the household who had produced it, who had received it as a present, or who had provided the money to buy it. The results indicate that women during the first quarter of 1979, in addition to their demanding domestic tasks, provided 54 per cent of the calories brought into household kitchens. Results from the other quarters will be needed to appreciate the seasonal variations in this contribution, which are expected to be high, especially in the northern savannah area of the country. Women's participation in supplying food does not involve all food groups equally. To appreciate the importance of this contribution, a preliminary look at the composition of the household food supply is necessary (table 12).
Composition of Rural Women's Average Diet
Cereals, roots and tubers, and pulses and seeds represent, respectively, 28, 50, and 11 per cent, or a total of 89 per cent, of the calorie supply. Table 12 shows that important food items are mostly home-produced. The share of non purchased food is 60, 92, and 85 per cent for cereals, roots and tubers, and pulses and seeds, respectively. In total, home production represents 77 per cent of the household food supply. Regional variations do influence the composttion of the diet, but leave almost constant the relevance of home production.
TABLE 12. Contribution of Women to Kitchen Food Supply (Expressed as Percentage of of Total Calories Provided by Each Food Group), by Geographical Area- Rural Areas of the Ivory Coast, First Quarter 1979
|Food Groups||Ivory Coast||East Forest||West Forest||Savannah|
|Cereals and grain products||47.5||40.9||65.0||39.6|
|Starchy roots and tubers||54.5||56.4||78.2||42.0|
|Sugar and sugar products||27.5||34.6||26.8||9.0|
|Meat and poultry||17.6||26.8||11.0||10.5|
|Fish, shellfish, and fish products||40.2||34.7||33.6||67.5|
Women's contribution includes food produced by women, food received through women's non-monetary exchange, and food purchased with women's earnings.
TABLE 13. Contribution of Women to Water Supply-Rural Areas of the Ivory Coast, First Quarter 1979
|Ivory Coast||East Forest||West Forest||Savannah|
|Contribution of women in time spent on water supply 1%)||94.2||95.2||98.0||91.6|
|Contribution of women to water supply per week (% volume)||93.4||91.6||94.6||94.3|
|Quantity of water supplied per household per week (litres)||665.0||585.9||669.0||751.0|
|Average number of persons per household||8.4||7.6||8.2||8.9|
|Quantity of water supplied per person per day (litres)||11.2||10.8||11.6||12.0|
Women and Staple Food Production
To return to women's contribution to the household food supply, table 12 shows that women supply between 48 and 63 per cent of the most important food groups. They also play an essential role in the supply of vitamin-rich vegetables and green leaves. Expectedly, their role becomes even more important in the provision of largely home' produced food groups (staples, vegetables, leaves and fruits, fats, and condiments), while they still provide on their own 38 per cent of the money allocated to food purchases. Tables 13 and 14 indicate that, on average, in each household women bring home 93 per cent of the 665 litres of water and 95 per cent of the 63 kg of wood needed for family life every week.
Time Allocation and Energy Requirements
Finally, the third reason why time-allocation studies, especially those providing data on activities of women and children, are of special interest to nutritionists is the opportunity they offer to estimate, at least on the basis of observed activity patterns, the level of physical activity of the persons concerned. This represents 22 to 52 per cent of total energy requirements (7). Individuals' total energy requirements are estimated on the basis of the energy they would spend if they did nothing, i.e., the basal metabolic rate, and on their level of physical activity-plus possible additional allowances for specific conditions, such as pregnancy, lactation, growth, etc. (9).
Table 15 illustrates the example of two women, both between 25 and 29 years of age, each weighing 58 kg, representing two patterns of physical activity designated light and moderate, computed on the basis of the Ivory Coast survey. The table indicates the duration of the activities and their related energy costs in minutes and calories and the percentage they represent in total time and energy expenditure. The above-mentioned light and moderate levels of physical activity have been defined earlier by successive WHO/FAD committees on Energy and Protein Requirements ( 10, 11 ) on the basis of limited data on individuals' food and daily energy expenditure. Cut-off points between light, moderate, and heavy levels of physical activity had been decided on the basis of common sense, without the support of sufficient statistical evidence.
Large data sets such as the Ivory Coast time allocation study make it possible to build up statistical distributions of the level of physical activity for people of comparable basal metabolic rate and of the same sex. Brun et al. (12) have already shown that women's average energy expenditure in rural areas of Upper Volta is higher than the normally assumed moderate level. Their data also indicate that women's agricultural tasks contribute about 15 per cent of their total energy expenditure.
The first results of the data analysis (7) of the Ivory Coast survey lead to similar conclusions if the seasons are comparable. They confirm that among rural adult women, agricultural activities constitute a major share of total energy expenditure. They also indicate that time devoted to agricultural work adds to women's tasks instead of replacing them and is the major differentiating factor among the various levels of physical activity (table 15).
As mentioned eralier, nutritionists have been increasingly concerned with the undesired consequences of development for the food supply and nutritional status of the population groups affected (13). These are even more a cause for concern at a time when the low impact of traditional nutritional interventions-such as distribution of food or nutrition education-has been proved. In consequence, the prevalent line of thought today is that, in the long term, hunger and malnutrition may be expected to be eradicated only through general economic and social development. National food and nutrition strategies, defined through a joint effort by economists and nutritionists, may help achieve the goal.
Yet development does not necessarily have a beneficial effect on food supply and nutritional status of all population groups. Migration of the male labour force from the traditional rural sector to modern agricultural schemes or to urban areas, for example-a phenomenon that often accompanies efforts to modernize agriculture-results in an enlarged work-load for the women left behind and is a threat to home production in which women play a major role (14). Food purchases cannot always compensate; this happens only when sufficient supplies of adequate food are available in the local markets and when cash remittances are enough, and sufficiently regular, to allow for compensating food purchases.
Another general result of agricultural and rural development efforts is the marginalization of the "less advanced" farmers, those who cannot take the risk of change and whose situation deteriorates rapidly while their more powerful neighbours can take advantage of development. Actions targeted specifically at the rural poor have, therefore, to be implemented through development policies in the short and medium term if political stability and food supply in urban areas are to be ensured and not become such that the economic development of the "dynamic" part of the country is threatened. Furthermore, most development efforts do take place through development projects funded and designed by financing agencies whose impact would be less effective at the level of national strategies, policies, and plans. Hence, nutritionists need to work not only at the policy level but also at the level of projects to make sure that they really do improve the standard of living for the rural poor, especially their food consumption and nutritional status. This is an indispensable preliminary to ensure that they remain in rural areas and keep producing food for the more politically influential urban population.
TABLE 14. Contribution of Women to Firewood Supply (Percentage of Quantities Supplied and Time Spent)-Rural Areas of the Ivory Coast, First Quarter 1979
|Ivory Coast||East Forest||West Forest||Savannah|
|Contribution of women in time spent in firewood collection (%)||96.1||95.5||93.8||97.4|
|Contribution of women to firewood provided per week (% weight)||95.3||93.4||97.7||95.8|
|Weight of firewood transferred into household per week (kg)||63.0||55.5||71.9||66.6|
|Average number of persons per household||8.4||7.6||8.2||8.9|
|Weight of firewood per person per day (kq)||1.1||1.0||1.3||1.0|
TABLE 15. Average Daily Time Allocation and Related Energy Cost for Two Women at Different Standardized Levels of Daily Physical Activity-Rural Areas of the Ivory Coast, First Quarter 1979
|Duration||Energy cost||Duration||Energy cost|
|Rest and leisure||368||25.5||514||24.2||255||17.7||348||15.4|
|Gathering, fishing, hunting||7||0.5||16||0.8||14||1.0||32||1.4|
|Agricultural production activities||33||2.3||85||4.0||87||6.0||232||10.2|
|On-farm crop processing||37||2.6||74||3.5||19||1.3||39||1.7|
|Sale of agricultural crops||6||0.4||10||0.5||4||0.3||7||0.3|
|Total waking activities||906||62.9||1,618||74.6||939||65.2||1,797||79.3|
Each subject was between 25 and 29 years old and weighed 58 kg. Averages are based on a week's observations.
On the other hand, food is such a priority for most of the rural population that projects may run short of "beneficiaries" when factors affecting traditional food supply and consumption are not taken into account. This is what happened, for example, with a project for the development of the Volta river valleys, when settlers" families abandoned their (expensive) plots after a few months because women and children were no longer able to gather wild fruit and nuts, an essential part of the family diet (14).
Evaluation of several other projects has revealed that improved food consumption of an area's population, and especially of those at risk of malnutrition, is far from being an automatic benefit of development. For example, in Papua New Guinea, the East Sepik Rural Integrated Project resulted in a general deterioration of the food supply for most of the households: The project induced old settlers to shift part of their land from root crops to rubber, while the newly settled "swamp people" could no longer gather the traditional sago and catch fish for their subsistence. In Zambia, a pilot project was designed to assist cattle raisers in their transition to agriculture in the drought-stricken arid and semi-arid areas of the country through the introduction of a number of labourintensive, small-scale irrigation and dryland crop schemes. Unfortunately, the demand for heavy labour for field preparation, clearing, burning, fencing, weeding, etc., coincided and conflicted with the time at which the livestock herds also demanded intensive amounts of human labour. As a result, those who could have benefited from the income earned working on the irrigation/crop schemes could not spare the time from their herds to do the work. Those who were trying to raise livestock and produce crops had to divide their time between the two to the detriment of both. Only those comparatively better-off farmers who could afford to hire others to do some of their work could hope to achieve good yields in livestock and in crops and increase their incomes and food supplies. Labour conflict-competition among different useful activities-meant continued food scarcity for most of the area's population.
In conclusion, evaluation of development projects has often revealed that they resulted, for some of the households, in unexpected and undesirable changes in food supply and consumption because of the changes the projects brought about in people's activities. Women's activities are of particular relevance in this respect, because women play a major role in food-related activities and hence in securing the household food supply. Efforts for the modernization of traditional agriculture, although they have not been addressed to women, have had important consequences for their activities and responsibilities.
For example, the integration of animal husbandry in agriculture (15), the increased use of fertilizers, or the adoption of some other element of the Green Revolution generally means an increase in the areas women cultivate and harvest, heavier weeding, additional mounding operations, and occasional transport of manure. Only if these efforts are rewarded by a better harvest will this heavier load be acceptable.
Hence, there is a need for an interest in people's time allocation on the part of nutritionists who want to ensure that the resources invested in development by governments and donors will have the maximum beneficial effect on nutrition. Women's time allocation is especially important because, in developing countries at least, women play a major role in food production, food processing, storage, purchase and sale, and food preparation for the household; i.e., in all the food-related activities that determine national and household food supplies.
Guidelines to avoid negative consequences of development projects, and even to maximize their benefits for the food consumption levels of the most deprived households, have been defined and draw attention to people's time allocation and women's time allocation in particular (15). Such investigations into time allocation conducted before the definition of the project should at least identify (14):
Obviously, such investigations require the joint efforts of nutritionists, economists, and anthropologists, both for their design and for their interpretation. There is now proof that a concern for people's time allocation in development planning can make a critical difference.
1. Bureau pour le Développement de la Productivité Agricole, Rapport final de l'étude sur les temps de travaux en zone cantonnière (Bangui. Central African Republic, 1960).
2. M. Acharya and C. Bennett, "The Rural Women of Nepal: An Aggregate Analysis and Summary of Eight Village Studies," CEDA News (Centre for Economic Development and Administration, Tribhuvan University, Katmandu, Nepal), vol. 2, part 9 (1979).
3. M. Acharya, "Time Use Data and the Living Standard Measurement Study," LSMS Working Paper no. 18 (The World Bank, Washington, D.C., 1982).
4. Moni Nag, Economic Value of Children in Agricultural Society (Columbia University, New York, 1971).
5. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, "Methods of Analysing Census Data on Economic Activities of the Population," Population Studies, no. 43, ST/SOA/Series A 43 (New York, 1968).
6. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, "Report on Sex and Age Patterns of Participation in Economic Activities," Demographic Aspects of Manpower Report 1, Population Studies, no. 33, (New York, 1962).
7. P. Francois, J. L. Dubois, and E. Yai, "Energy Cost and Daily Timed Activities: An Activity Index Based on Ivory Coast Data," Food and Nutrition (FAO), vol. 9, no.1 (1983).
8. A.-J. Berio and E, Yai, "Time Allocation in the Rural Areas of Ivory Coast: Preliminary Findings-Economic and Nutritional Implications," Food end Nutrition (FAO ), (to be published).
9. Energy and Protein Requirements, report of a joint FAD/WHO Ad Hoc Expert Committee, World Health Organization Technical Report Series, no 522 (WHO, Geneva, 1973).
10. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Protein Requirements, report of the FAO Committee, Rome, 24-31 Oct. 1955, FAO Nutrition Studies, no. 16 (FAO, Rome, 1957).
11. World Health Organization, Protein Requirements, report of a joint FAO/WHO Expert Group, World Health Organization Technical Report Series, no. 301 (WHO, Geneva, 1965).
12. T. Brun, G. Ancey, and S. Bonny, "Variations Saisonniéres de la Dépense Energétique des Paysans en Haute Volta" (Institut National de la Santé et de Recherche, mimeographed, 1979).
13. P. Lunven and A. l. Sabry, "Nutrition and Rural Development," Food and Nutrition (FAO), 7 (1): 13 (1981).
14. A.-J. Berio, "Women's Food Related Activities and Time Allocation" (Ford Foundation and Institute of Environmental Studies, University of Khartoum, Sudan, 1981).
15. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, "Introducing Nutrition in Agricultural and Rural Development" (paper COAG 8116, presented at the 6th session of FAO Committee for Agriculture, Rome, April 1981).
Contents - Previous - Next