Highlighting the importance of incorporating indigenous knowledge into new product development and commercial production processes through a study on the attitudes and preferences of mahangu flour consumers in Northern Namibia.
Denk, Steven William
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Incorporating indigenous knowledge into new product development and by extension commercial production processes is critical for the successful commercialisation of traditional products. Traditionally, mahangu grain goes through a process referred to as the lactic acid fermentation process. The mahangu grain is exposed to a chemical reaction causing the taste, colour and texture of mahangu porridge to be altered. The results from the discrete choice experiment shows that mahangu consumers prefer the attributes emanating from the lactic acid fermentation process. However due to the lack of exposure to the lactic acid fermentation process, Meme Mahangu flour do not possess any of the attributes the choice data revealed to be the most preferred mahangu flour attributes. Attitudes were measured based on Fishbein’s multi-attribute model. The results showed a negative attitude towards Meme Mahangu. This could be attributed to the fact that the attributes preferred by mahangu consumers (i.e. light coloured porridge) are not present in Meme Mahangu. The results from the choice data collected from the discrete choice experiment shows that the most preferred mahangu flour attributes are those attributes emanating from the lactic acid fermentation process and that the least preferred mahangu flour attributes being those attributes present in mahangu flour that have not been fermented. A sour taste, light colour and soft texture are the attributes most preferred and those emanating from the lactic acid fermentation process. The colour of mahangu porridge has the highest relative importance (52%) with the maximum share of preference falling on light coloured mahangu porridge. Three main recommendations are proposed. These recommendations can significantly enhance the commercial value of mahangu flour and contribute to the improvement of the livelihood of small scale farmers in northern Namibia.
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