January 31, 2024

Average Nigerian adult needs N703 to eat healthy diet daily – NBS

Average Nigerian adult needs N703 to eat healthy diet daily – NBS

The Statistician General and Country Director, GAIN (middle) and other dignitaries display copies of the Indicator shortly after the launch on Wednesday in Abuja.

By Emmanuel Elebeke

The National Bureau of Statistics, NBS says it costs an average Nigerian about N703 to eat a Healthy Diet per day as of October 2023.

This was disclosed at the launch of the Cost of a Healthy Diet Indicator by the Bureau in conjunction with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, GAIN held at the National Bureau of Statistics Complex, Abuja on Wednesday.

 At the State level, Anambra, Ebonyi, and Enugu States recorded the highest cost at N950, N933, and N915, respectively, while the lowest total diet costs were recorded in Niger, Adamawa, and Bauchi at N544, N545, and N560, respectively.

 At the Zonal level, the average CoHD was highest in the South East zone at N918 per day, followed by South West zone at N760 per day. The lowest average Cost of a Healthy Diet was recorded in North East zone at N605 per day.

On cost share by food group, the indicator shows that animal-source foods were the most expensive food group recommendation to meet in October 2023, accounting for 38% of the total CoHD, to providing 13% of total calories. Fruits and vegetables were the most expensive food groups in terms of price per calorie; they accounted for 12% and 13% of the total cost while providing only 7% and 5% of total calories in the Oils and fats 9% Animal source foods 38% Healthy Diet Basket.

The least-expensive food group on average was legumes, nuts, and seeds, at 6% of the total cost.

The report indicates that the average cost of a Healthy Diet is a reflection of market prices of agricultural commodities and foodstuffs within the period under review.

Focusing on the relative rate of inflation,  the report says food prices and the Cost of a Healthy Diet are both expected to rise over time.

In the past year, the CoHD and the cost of all other goods and services were said to have increased at roughly the same rate, until July 2023, when CoHD increased at a faster rate than all goods and services (general CPI) and more than all foods for which retail prices are collected.

For the least-Cost Diets and Frequently Selected Least-Cost Items, Adamawa State had the lowest Cost of a Healthy Diet at N462 per adult per day in October 2023, while the most expensive location was Anambra (Urban) with CoHD at N984. 

While there were similarities in the least-cost items in October (e.g., White Garri, White Maize Grains, Palm Oil, Avocados, Bitter Leaf, and Soya Beans), the cost per food item was different in these locations because of underlying price differences.

According to the study, many food groups had different least-cost items as well. For example, live local chicken was the least-expensive Animal Source Food in Adamawa (Rural) compared with a dozen Agricultural eggs in Anambra.

On the frequently selected least-cost items in each food group across all States, the report shows that some items are commonly the least-cost across different locations. For example, Palm Oil was the least-expensive food in the Oils and Fats food group in 73% of all State-Sectors in October 2023, and Soya Beans were selected in more than half of all places as a least-cost item in the Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds Group.

However, there is more variation in the Vegetables category, because three (3) vegetables are recommended in each least-cost healthy diet. Bitter Leaf, Dried Okra, and Dried Kuka were the most frequently selected least-cost Vegetables in October 2023

In his keynote address, the Statistician General of the Federation, Prince. Adeyemi Adeniran said,  ‘‘The unveiling of the indicator was a substantial fulfillment of NBS’s mandate as the significance of the launch is particularly pronounced in its contribution to food security and the decision-making processes related to food systems.

‘‘This event underscores our dedication to providing information that not only guides strategic actions but also directly influences critical aspects of our nation’s development, reinforcing the indispensable role that accurate and timely data plays in shaping a prosperous and sustainable future.

‘‘Global food insecurity remains a pressing issue, affecting millions of people worldwide. This multifaceted issue stems from a combination of factors, including poverty, conflict, climate change, and inadequate infrastructure. The consequences of food insecurity are far-reaching, leading to malnutrition, stunted growth, and heightened vulnerability to diseases, including conflict.

‘‘Subsistence farmers, marginalized communities, and regions prone to natural disasters are particularly at risk. Efforts to address global food insecurity therefore require a comprehensive approach and collaboration among governments, private sector operators, and development partners, to implement effective strategies that not only respond to immediate hunger, but also foster long-term food resilience and security’’.

According to the SG, this report will be useful to the newly inaugurated National Minimum Wage Committee and also to other key aspects of public planning, particularly around food security.

In his remarks, the Country Director, GAIN at the press briefing on the Cost of a Healthy Diet, CoHD described the launch as a ground-breaking strides made by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Nigeria.

The launch, which commences the monthly publication of the Cost of a Healthy Diet across the country he said will help to identify supply challenges in specific foods or food groups, as well as the causes of poor diet quality, such as high prices and insufficient incomes, thereby providing policymakers and other stakeholders with actionable insights for targeted interventions.

Dr. Ojo said the Cost of a Healthy Diet (CoHD) is the least expensive combination of locally available items that meet globally consistent food-based dietary guidelines. It is used as a measure of physical and economic access to healthy diets.

Given the country’s high and variable inflation, he said the publication is coming at the right time. Data on food prices for nutrition is critical because it lays the groundwork for targeted interventions that will have a tangible impact on the lives of Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable.

‘‘The Cost of a Healthy Diet (CoHD) indicator is one of the indicators featured in the Nigerian Sub-National Food Systems Dashboard.

’’The Food Systems Dashboard is a comprehensive state-level dashboard that helps us to describe and diagnose deficiencies and issues with our food system as well as provide inputs for decisions required for ensuring the viability of nutrition-sensitive food systems in each state and the FCT. 

‘‘The Dashboard brings together food systems data, with indicators to measure different aspects of the food system, helping to identify likely food system challenge areas and proffer recommendations for improvement,’’ said the GAIn Country Director