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Healthy diet beyond Nigerians’ reach as prices surge 111% in one year – Businessday

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The cost of basic food items that meet the minimum nutrient requirements has more than doubled within a year, new official data show, putting healthy diets beyond the reach of more Nigerians.

The latest ‘Cost of Healthy Diet’ report, produced by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, shows that the national average cost of a healthy diet rose by 110.7 percent to N1,035 per day in April 2024 from N491 per day in the same period of last year. The cost was also 5.4 percent higher from N982 in March.

The CoHD metric assesses the availability, price, and nutritional composition of retail food items to identify the most cost-effective combination meeting the requirements for a healthy diet.

“CoHD has steadily increased since the first CoHD report by NBS (October 2023). The CoHD in April 2024 is 47 percent higher in October 2023 (N703) and five percent higher than CoHD in March 2024, which was N982,” the report said.

It said the food groups that have driven the increases in CoHD the most are Vegetables, Starchy Staples, and Legumes Nuts, and Seeds. “The cost of meeting the recommendations for Fruits has changed the least since March 2024.”

According to the NBS, the headline inflation quickened for the 16th straight time to 33.69 percent in April, up from 33.20 percent in March.

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Food inflation, which constitutes more than 50 percent of headline inflation also increased to 40.53 percent from 40.53 percent.

The CoHD report also revealed that Ekiti, Ogun, and Osun states recorded the highest cost with N1, 483, N1,447, and N1,417 respectively. Kogi and Katsina accounted for the lowest costs with N709, followed by Kaduna and Nasarawa with N756 and N769, respectively.

“Lastly, at the Zonal level, the average CoHD was highest in the South West Zone at N1,406 per day, followed by South East Zone with N1,190 per day. The lowest average Cost of a Healthy diet was recorded in North West Zone with N781 per day,” it said.

It added that animal-source foods were the most expensive food group recommendation to meet in April, accounting for 36 percent of the total CoHD to provide 13 percent of the total calories.

“Fruits and vegetables were the most expensive food groups in terms of price per calorie; they accounted for 11 percent and 16 percent, respectively, of total CoHD while providing only seven percent and five percent of total calories in the healthy diet basket. Legumes, Nuts, and Seeds were the least-expensive food group on average, at six percent of the total cost.”

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