Article Number: DRJAFS18925900
ISSN: 2354-4147

Vol. 10(9) Pp. 221-228 September 2022

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Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0.

Original Research Article

Drivers of Food Choice and Implications for Building Immunity against COVID-19 in Ghana and Burkina Faso

Abazaami, J.

Santuah, N. F.*

Amikuzuno, J.

Santuabu, T.


This paper examines the drivers of food choice in Anglophone and Francophone settings in the West African Savannah, and highlights the implications for building immunity against COVID-19. The study used scientific and indigenous methodologies to purposively sample and interact with 28 key informants, 13 focus groups, and three Case Studies, which included smallholder farmers, indigenous institutional functionaries, food security activists, traditional leaders, clan/lineage heads, and women’s groups in Ghana and Burkina Faso. The content of transcripts was analyzed to generate quantitative information to understand the distribution of opinion on specific issues. The study found that, among Gourounsi/Kasena smallholder farmers in Ghana and Burkina Faso, appearance and taste are stronger drivers of food choice than health and nutrition. However, “food that has soul” (tasty and micronutrient dense) is the underlying driver of food choice among Gourounsi/Kasena smallholder farmers in both countries. Millet has the highest soul among the crops, and late millet has the highest soul among all millets. Millet flour drink has the highest soul among all the recipes of millet. Study participants say eating “food that has soul” is wholesome for humans and it engenders food production systems that are ecologically balanced. Gourounsi foods also nourish the body and potentially boost its immunity against microbial attacks. Gourounsi/Kasena foods should be incorporated into the national COVID-19 response for countries in the West African Savannah.

Keywords: COVID-19, food choice, food that has soul, immune system, West Africa

 Received: August 5, 2022  Accepted: September 3, 2022  Published: September 10, 2022

Copyright © 2022 Direct Research Journal of Agriculture and Food Science