International Journal of Advanced Education and Research

International Journal of Advanced Education and Research


International Journal of Advanced Education and Research
International Journal of Advanced Education and Research
Vol. 1, Issue 10 (2016)

Social representations of rural women on nutrient–enriched tilapia fish foods with Moringa oleifera


Jimmy T Masagca, Aurora E Araojo, Meda B Mercado

Representations were examined in different focus groups during university-sponsored trainings and observations on “talk and actions” of selected rural women as social groups from the island province of Catanduanes in Bicol Region, Luzon, Philippines (Lat 13.67° N, Long 124.12° E). Each group was homogeneous, as defined by age, gender and schooling. During the interviews and case analysis, packages of “malunggay” (Moringa oleifera) nutrient–enriched fish foods (NEFF) from the cichliid fish (Tilapias) and brochures on how to process these foods were presented that served as stimuli among the women subjects. Thematic and content analyses revealed several dichotomies (i.e. aromatic and pungent) that characterized the representational field of the women subjects. Many metaphors were used by the women to describe these enriched foods with Moringa being associated metaphorically with meaningful life, hunger, ‘junk foods’, sufferings, luck, freedom, discovery and inventions. Chronological references of the representations centered on advancement of fish processing within the local Catanduanes island cuisine. The perceived nutritive value of these NEFF was an important argument, noting that the subjects continue to engage in selling snack foods enriched with Moringa leaves. The dimension of “micronutrient” as divulged by the innovative stance and nuances displayed with their representations that are initially molded within the general feeling of ‘dislike’ of Tilapias (Cihliidae) reversed the unpopular fish species among coastal dwelling communities. However, the renewed feeling of acceptability as enriched food products was displayed and newly recognized roles of rural women to take the lead in convincing to children and their mothers in their neighbors on the dimension of innovativeness in fish processing. Based on the women reflections, accelerating an “inventive sense” can popularize conceptions found in the technology infusion projects for fish processing and post-harvest capability building among women of the island province to affect their thinking and practice in household fish food preparation to reduce food insecurity in the local population.

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