Cost of healthy diet in Nigeria stood at N982 in March: NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said that the national average cost of a healthy diet (CoHD) per adult per day stood at N982 in March 2024.

The NBS said in its CoHD report for March 2024, which was released on Tuesday that the cost in March increased by 4.7 per cent compared to the N938 recorded in February.

The NBS said the CoHD was the least expensive combination of locally available items that meet globally consistent food-based dietary guidelines.

The bureau said that data on retail food prices, food composition, and healthy diet standards were required to compute the CoHD indicator.

The NBS also said that in March, the average CoHD was highest in the South-West at N1,198 per adult per day, followed by the South-East at N1,140 per day.

It said the lowest average CoHD was recorded in the North-West at N787 per adult daily.

The NBS further said that at the state level, Ekiti, Lagos, and Abia recorded the highest CoHD at N1330, N1249, and N1215.

The bureau said Katsina recorded the lowest CoHD at N739, followed by Sokoto and Zamfara at N758 and N766.

The NBS said CoHD had steadily increased since the first CoHD report by the bureau in October 2023.

“The CoHD in March 2024 is 40 per cent higher than what was recorded in October 2023 at N703 and five per cent higher than the CoHD in February 2024, which was N938.

“The food groups that have driven the increase in CoHD are vegetables, starchy staples, and fruits. The cost of meeting the recommendations for oil and fats has changed the least,” NBS stated.

According to the report, animal-source foods are the most expensive food group recommendation to meet in March, accounting for 37 per cent of the total CoHD to provide 13 per cent of the total calories.

It was noted that fruits and vegetables were the most expensive food groups in terms of price per calorie.

“They accounted for 12 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively, of the total CoHD while providing only seven per cent and five per cent of total calories in the Healthy Diet Basket.

“Legumes, nuts and seeds were the least-expensive food group on average at six per cent of the total cost,” the bureau said.

The report also said that CoHD has risen faster than general and food inflation in recent months.

“However, the CoHD and the food Consumer Price Index (CPI) are not directly comparable.

“The CoHD includes fewer items and is measured in Naira per day, while the food CPI is a weighted index.

“The food CPI increased approximately by four per cent between January and February, while CoHD increased by nine per cent,” NBS said.

The NBS said the policy implications of these results would foster collaboration among a wide range of stakeholders, such as policymakers, researchers, and civil society actors focused on food security.

“These stakeholders will devise strategies that effectively address access, availability, and affordability of a healthy diet.

“Also, future research incorporating income could also be used to determine the proportion and number of the population that are unable to afford a healthy diet,” the report said.