By Okeoghene Akubuike
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) have unveiled the Cost of a Healthy Diet (CoHD) Indicator Report in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CoHD was unveiled at a joint Media Briefing on Wednesday, as stakeholders called for collaboration to achieve a healthy diet for Nigerians.
NAN reports that the CoHD is the least expensive combination of locally available items that meet globally consistent food-based dietary guidelines, used as a measure of physical and economic access to healthy diets.
The Statistician-General of the Federation, Adeyemi Adeniran, said the significance of the inauguration was 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.
“Until now, traditionally available food security indicators did not adequately capture economic access to nutritious foods in alignment with the core principles of food security.
” The introduction of CoHD indicators fills this gap by reflecting both physical and economic access to a healthy diet.
“This indicator provides evidence of economic access to the most economically viable healthy diet within a given country, utilising locally available foods to meet nutritional requirements.”
Adeniran said tracking and monitoring the cost of a healthy diet offered valuable insights for policymakers, researchers, and organisations to discern patterns, assess disparities, and implement targeted interventions that address the root causes of food insecurity.
He said the comprehensive approach contributed to the global fight against hunger and malnutrition by promoting the affordability and availability of nutritious foods.
Adeniran said for the statistical system, the indicator would be a very useful tool to achieve Nigeria’s commitment to tackling food insecurity as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, particularly Goal two.
“Goal two seeks to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
“Furthermore, production of this indicator is in tandem with the present government’s eight-point Agenda, one of which is to boost agriculture to achieve food security.
“Information from this exercise will provide a useful basis for the government to track its efforts and programmes toward attaining this aspect of its eight-point Agenda.”
He said efforts to address global food insecurity required a comprehensive approach and collaboration among governments, private sector operators, and development partners.
“This collaboration will help to implement effective strategies that not only respond to immediate hunger but also foster long-term food resilience and security. ”
The Country-Director, GAIN, Dr Micheal Ojo, said data on food prices for nutrition was critical because it laid the groundwork for targeted interventions that would have tangible impact on the lives of Nigerians, especially the most vulnerable.
Ojo said the data 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.
He said this would provide policymakers and other stakeholders with actionable insights for targeted interventions.
Ojo said the CoHD indicator was 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.”
According to him, GAIN is a Swiss-based foundation inauguratec at the United Nations in 2002 to tackle the human suffering caused by malnutrition.
“Consequently, we are committed to supporting national efforts, such as this groundbreaking initiative by the NBS to enhance and monitor food systems transformation.
“We are proud to have achieved this feat in collaboration with other partners, specifically Tuffs University and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). ”
Mrs Sugra Mahmood, the Director of Nutrition and Food Safety, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, said achieving a healthy diet needed a multi-sectoral approach.
“May our collective effort under the leadership of our visionary President, the dedication of our ministers and the proactive initiatives of our first ladies charge the course forward.
“Forward into a future where every citizen can enjoy the benefits of a nutritious diet and our nation thrives in good health and prosperity,” she said.
Dr Sanjo Faniran, the Director, Social Development, Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, said the CoHD was critical to achieving the food system transformation pathway in Nigeria.
Faniran said achieving a healthy diet in Nigeria calls for collaboration by all relevant stakeholders because the issue of a healthy diet does not belong to a particular sector.
He said emphasis must be made on the establishment of food estates in all the states of the federation, which would provide adequate supply and processing of food to achieve a healthy diet.
“These food estates will provide the opportunity for youths to engage in farming and for Micro-processors to come within these estates to process little food items which will be affordable. ” (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ese E. Eniola Williams