Cost Of Healthy Eating Soars In Nigeria, Raising Concerns About Affordability

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News in brief:
- The cost of a healthy diet in Nigeria has surged 66% in a year, outpacing inflation and impacting Nigerians already struggling with rising food costs.
– This hike raises concerns about access to nutritious food, particularly for vulnerable groups.

The cost of maintaining a healthy diet in Nigeria has risen significantly, posing a new challenge for citizens already grappling with high inflation and food insecurity.

A report compiled by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition reveals a 66.2% increase in the cost of a healthy diet (CoHD) within the past year. It jumped from ₦473 per day in December 2022 to ₦786 per day in December 2023.

The CoHD metric assesses the availability, price, and nutritional composition of retail food items to identify the most affordable combination that meets recommended dietary guidelines. This report highlights that while the CoHD initially increased at a similar rate to overall inflation, it surpassed both general inflation and the price increase of all recorded foods since July 2023. Thus, it points to specific challenges within the food system contributing to the growing cost of healthy options.

Regional differences in cost of healthy diet in Nigeria

The report further identifies regional disparities in CoHD, with Ekiti, Osun, and Ondo states recording the highest average costs (₦1,052, ₦1,017, and ₦986, respectively) and Katsina, Niger, and Adamawa states having the lowest (₦594, ₦635, and ₦654, respectively).

Animal-based foods were found to be the most expensive component of the CoHD, and fruits and vegetables, although contributing minimally to caloric intake, were also identified as relatively costly food groups.

Overall, the significant increase in the cost of healthy eating raises concerns about equity and access to nutritious food for Nigerians. With inflation already at a two-decade high and food prices disproportionately rising, affordability becomes a major barrier for many citizens to achieve a healthy diet. Stakeholders involved in the food system, from policymakers to producers and distributors, have expressed the need to address these challenges to ensure everyone has access to the nourishment they need for optimal health and well-being.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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