Food being more than just a source of nutrition is embedded in many aspects of the culture of a community. What we eat, how we acquire and prepare it, how we eat, who we eat with and when we eat reflect the complexity of wide cultural arrangements around foodways. How these factors shape local diets, food preferences, household food distribution, child feeding practices and preparation techniques their implication on household food security present a knowledge gap. This study sought to understand existing socio-cultural aspects of foodways and establish their implication of household food security. An exploratory- qualitative study consisting of 37 informant interviews and 6 focus group discussions was conducted. Thematic analysis was carried out to establish, interpret patterns and relationships from emerging themes and presented through verbatim approach. The study used entitlement theory as its theoretical framework. Study findings indicate that increased access to productive resources that speak to food availability and access, especially by women, does not imply equal rights and power to convert such to food or means of getting food, since, strict patriarchal rules still to place men as the household heads and major decision makers. The study results further show that local customary and religious beliefs and practices categorize foods into food prescriptions and proscriptions (food rules) with animal source foods (ASFs) being the most proscribed foods. Women, girls and children are the most affected by these proscriptions hence putting them at a nutritional disadvantage in terms of food access and utilization, even when food is available. This study concludes that inflexible gender and social norms promote male favoritism in food resource control and food allocation leaving other household members vulnerable and food insecure. Customary food rules promote not only food reallocation and dietary diversification but also food inaccessibility, particularly ASFs, indicating why simply enhanced food supply models may not translate to individual food security at the household. This study therefore recommends on nutrition and food security intervention models and policies that take in cognizance of local level realities and contexts of foodways. Implementing gender transformative approaches and policies to shape gender norms through community dialogues and trainings among other avenues is also recommended.

• Introduction
Food is not only a human right but also a basic need for human survival. The intake of the ‘right types of food' can promote good health, good nutrition and curb ailments and diseases brought about by consumption of inadequate or unbalanced diet. As a social marker, food promotes social cohesion and cultural or personal identities (Crowther, 2013). Despite the wide recognition of food as a human right that promotes dignified and healthy life, the world population is still hungry and malnourished a situation that thwarts achievement of sustainable development goals -2 (SDG-2) in 2030 Agenda. According to FAO and ECA (2018:3), 821 million people over the world were undernourished in 2017, with a reported increase of 34.5 million people as compared to 2015. In Africa alone, 257 million people are undernourished, with 237 million in Sub-Saharan Africa and 20 million in North Africa (FAO & ECA, 2018: 4).

According to FAO et al., (2019: 20) reports, an equivalent of 2 billion people of world population suffer from severe and moderate levels of food insecurity. With reference to SDG indicators of childhood overweight, stunting and wasting, the same report indicated that, in 2018 Africa and Asia recorded the highest number of all forms of malnutrition accounting to approximately 39.5% and 54.9% correspondingly (FAO et al., 2019: 28). The rising levels of food insecurity and nutrition have been attributed to high poverty levels, land shortages, high seasonal food production, declining soil fertility, global economic shocks and slowdowns, environmental degradations, conflicts and political instabilities and climate change (FAO et al., 2019; FAO & ECA, 2018; Olum et al., 2017). The economic shocks and slowdown are critically associated with increasing unemployment rates that negatively affect income levels and wages hence impeding on economic access of not only food but other social amenities (FAO et al., 2019).

The concept of food is however more complicated to be subjected to environmental and economic determinants because whatever is termed as food in one culture is seen as non- food or poison in another (Helman, 2007; Crowther, 2013). This is based not on food nutritional significance but on compound ideological importance (Crowther, 2013) which are embedded in various socio-cultural factors that people relate to when it comes to food and other societal aspects. These complex factors generally involve attitudes, beliefs and practices, knowledge and skills and any other social institutions that influence peoples’ foodways. Piatti-Farnell (2011) asserts that the foodways of a people (what they eat, where they get it, mode of preparation, when they eat and with whom, what it means to them) depend on their social and cultural arrangements. These social and cultural also determine selects the food to be eaten, who prepares, who serves and to whom, how and where and the order of such dishes (Piatti-Farnel, 2011).

Therefore, Cultural influences on food results to differences in habitual consumption of certain food substances as well as food proscriptions or taboos. For instance, work done by Oniang'o and Komokoti (1999:94 cited in Edelstein, 2010) indicate that some communities in western Nigeria have traditionally inhibited pregnant women from eating eggs even when produced in masses. Some of the reasons are that, traditionally, chicken meat is reserved for men and visitors in these communities. Further, it was argued that there would be no chicken if women and children were allowed to eat eggs an indication that physical availability of food does not mandate food and nutrition security to all household members. Consequently, Alonso (2015) argues such food avoidances or prohibitions by gender may prevent a particular gender from consuming available food through limited access hence reduced food security and gradually malnutrition.

A Sierra Leone study conducted in 2014 revealed that culture has critical influence on individual household member access to food through intra-household food distribution. The study found out that food distribution within the household is based on perceived nature of work and responsibilities bestowed within an individual member (Denney et al., 2014). Additionally, the study also stipulated that, within the household food is served based on cultural value placed on different food types. The above findings were confirmed by an Asian study, conducted by Harris-Fry et al., (2017) which found out that women, particularly the pregnant women were disadvantaged against food distribution within the households. This was on the basis that they tend to eat last and the least amounts particularly on the prestigious and high-nutrient foods. Such was attributed to the assertion that women in the region view their men as their gods as deserving to be served first and the best share. Recent research indicate that such preferential household food distribution leaves the less valued members food insecure and at risk of pangs of malnutrition (Alonso, 2015; Oloo, 2013).

Intra-household allocation, control and access to resources are also culture bound. Personal endowments and entitlements that are or can be converted to food are, to a greater extent, determined by strict cultural rules. For example, a Nigerian report by AWSC (2014) on women experiences on food security stipulate that strict cultural rules deny women the right to own and keep property inherited or obtained during marriage particularly land. The report further indicates that such unequal access to land among other resources limits food production by women (AWSC, 2014 cited in Ng’ang’a, 2015: 10) who according to FAO (2013) would contribute20 to 30% increase in food production with equal access to resources as their male counterparts.

Mohajan (2014: 33) stipulates that in Nigeria, food security is viewed as an equivalent of maize security. At the household level, recent studies assert that a food secure household is one that has the capability to sustainably satisfy over 80% of its individual members with nutrition essentials (Mohajan, 2014; Hamad & Khashroum, 2016). However, this remains a challenge in Nigeria, especially the rural areas due to increased food prices, high levels of poverty and adverse weather conditions affecting agriculture which is the major social and economic mainstay (Mohajan, 2014). Moreover, FAO reports (2009) state that households are the locus for the expression of socio-cultural aspects relating to food. The cultural rules of what is and is not food as well as intra-household dynamics influence household food security situation. The reports further argue that in situations of food prohibitions, some members of the household are deprived of important nutritional foods leading to severe health issues and increased malnutrition cases (Stephen, 2015).

There has been a blind eye turned on the strong influence culture has on foodways of African people and this has seen failures of many well intentioned programmes such as Eradicate Hunger Nigeria (Njaa Marufuku-Nigeria), developed by the ministry of Agriculture (MoA) to help achieve SDG-2 9 (Njoroge et al., 2013; Kilonzo, 2019 ). In light of these, development planners and agencies as well as governments realizes the prerequisites of placing culture at the center of any development plan and with such, there is need of a deeper understanding on how culture shapes local diets, food preferences, intra- household food distribution patterns, child feeding practices, food acquisition and preparation techniques and health and sanitation practices and how all these interplay with food security at the household levels (Olum et al., 2017; Alonso et al., 2018).

• Problem statement
Nigeria continues to suffer from serious levels of hunger (a score of 23.2 in GHI) currently ranking at 77 out of 119 countries according to the 2018 Global Hunger Index. The number of food insecure Nigerians with limited access to safe, nutritious and adequate food stood at 36% (over 17 million) in 2016/17 compared to 32% (15 million) in 2014/15 (Nation NewsPlex, 2019). This situation, like in most African countries is attributed to Nigeria’s dependence on food imports, food relief aids (Sasson, 2012) and high poverty levels, land shortages, seasonal food production due to changing rainfall patterns, food price inflations and environmental degradation (FAO & ECA, 2018; FAO et al., 2019).

Recent food security reports have also shown that the superficial focus of policies and development programs in Nigeria in the last decade such as ‘Njaa Marufuku Nigeria’ and ‘accelerated input agricultural access programme fail to consider the local level realities and end up benefiting the elites and the middle class citizens (Kilonzo, 2019). The author argues that the failure of these policies and programme to consider women realities as bearers of effects of hunger and feeding the nation, locks them out of support and access to policy resources and programme (Kilonzo, 2019). Such gaps in capturing multi-faceted local realities and worldviews of both men and women in relation to foodways present as impediments to achievement of the sustainable development goal 2 (SDG-2) in line with vision 2030.

Previous studies show that food is embedded in culture whereas culture is considered an integral part of food security (Helman, 2007; Kittler et al., 2011). To support this, other studies and development reports (WFP, 2012; Keding et al., 2013, Alonso et al., 2018) postulate that understanding and integrating culture as a driver of food security is a prerequisite to not only effective food programme, but also accepted, improved, sustainable and health diets of a people.

Whereas there has been a wide recognition of the role of culture, most food security studies and intervention programme focus on the ecological and socio-economic levels and causes of food security (Mohajan, 2014; Kassie et al., 2014; ). Despite there being numerous multidisciplinary studies focusing on relationship of culture and food security, discussions remain only at the policy making and research levels (Oloo et al., 2013; Olum et al., 2017; Alonso et al., 2018). There is limited documentation on how different power relations within household, decision making and intra-household resource allocation and use interplay with cultural rules and practices to influence household food security.

Alonso et al., (2018) notes that development agencies and food security frameworks have stressed the importance of placing culture at the center of development however they do not clarify on the specific ways and the extent to which culture and other related factors influences food security situation at all (UN, 2013; Alonso et al., 2018). This implies that there is a dearth of knowledge on how cultures shape local diets, food preferences, intra- household food distribution patterns, breastfeeding practices, food acquisition and preparations and health and sanitation practices and how all these interplay with food security. With such realization, the study sought to establish the Social-cultural variables as determinant of food security in Ado Ekiti LGA, Ekiti state. To achieve its overall objective, the study was guided by the following research questions:

• What are the intra-household dynamics that influence decision-making in relation to foodways in Ado Ekiti LGA?

• What are the food prescriptions and proscriptions in Ado Ekiti LGA?

• What are the implications of food prescriptions and proscriptions on household food security in Ado Ekiti LGA?

• Objectives of the Study
• Overall Objective

To establish the Social-cultural variables as determinant of food security in Ado Ekiti LGA, Ekiti state.

• Specific Objectives

• To assess the intra-household dynamics in decision-making in relation to foodways in Ado Ekiti LGA.

• To explore food prescriptions and proscriptions (food rules) in Ado Ekiti LGA.

• To examine the implications of food prescriptions and proscriptions on household food security in Ado Ekiti LGA

• Justification of the study
Although much has been done to establish causes of malnutrition and food insecurity (Obiero, 2013; Oloo et al. 2013, Kassie et al., 2014; Stephen, 2015; Olum et al., 2017), little, if any, has been done on the socio-cultural aspects of foodways and how they influence food security. The findings of this study are, hence, vital increasing the understanding on the intra-household dynamics and other socio-cultural factors that determine food proscriptions and prescriptions.

Additionally, the findings of this study could be useful in aiding the government, NGOs and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to come up with sound policy frameworks that put into consideration the different cultural backgrounds in Nigeria. Policies and programme developed by the government such ‘Njaa Marufuku Nigeria’ translated to ‘Eradicate hunger Nigeria’ (Kilonzo, 2019; Njoroge et al., 2013) to achieve the sustainable development goal 2 (SDG-2), which later become a white elephant can be updated for better performance using the findings of this study. The local people and the school going may benefit from such well-informed programme and policies through provision of enough, available and socially accessible and acceptable foods (Njoroge et al., 2013).

Rio+ 20, FAO, World Food Programmes (WFP) and other international bodies have strived to improve the food security in the world through incorporation of culture as a key driver of food security (UN, 2013; USAID, 2009). Despite such efforts, the issues of malnutrition and food insecurity have always persisted and have had massive impacts on the victims. The results of this study adds to useful information that will build on the local, regional and global body of knowledge required in the implementation of strategies aimed at reducing effects food insecurity such as the double tragedy of malnutrition.

Moreover, the study findings will add on to the academic knowledge to scholars and others with interest in food security. Specific interest will be mostly on how cultural and social behaviors of food determines what is palatable or not and how this in turn implicates on food security as well as how the resultant dietary rules affect food security situations.

• Scope and Limitations of the study
The study was carried out in Ado Ekiti LGA of Ekiti state. It concentrated on socio- cultural drivers of foodways and their implication on food security at the household level. The study established intra-household dynamics in decision making, the various beliefs, norms, attitude, knowledge and practices of foodways and their overall influence on household food security.

The study was limited to one of the driest part of Ekiti LGA and hence did not delve into understanding food security situations of household in the surrounding sub-counties. The study also, did not delve deeply into other drivers of food security like natural resources, inflation and food prices and food policies. In addition, foodways of a people are area-specific due to diverse cultural backgrounds and hence, the findings of this study cannot be generalized to populations outside Ekiti state. However, the study results can be used to inform food security interventions and programs in other areas, by giving socio- cultural aspects of foodways the required intensity.

A limitation of this study was the lack of quantitative data that allows comparisons and establishment of trends and patterns of crucial aspects in food security such as income, education and employment. However, being a purely qualitative study, different qualitative data collection methods were used not only to cross-validate data but also capture various dimensions of culture and food security using the research questions as lenses.

An additional limitation of this study was the entitlement theory inability to adequately address objective two. During the study it was established that, in dealing with food prescriptions and prescriptions, the theory did not adequately delve into the deeper symbolic meaning and use of food in religious and cultural rituals as well as group dynamics of food choice.

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