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Malnutrition Looms, Plant and Animal Protein becomes Unaffordable in Nigeria

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The severerity of food shortage and the ensuing skyrocketing food prices is driving some severe pending consequences which if not properly handled will further aggravate the unpleasant situation and spell a major catastrophe for Nigeria.

Inability to buy protein supplying food by household is putting the health of households at serious risk. The most vulnerable are the children that now stay days without eating common proteinuous food such as egg and beans.

Continental Economy Magazine spoke with Hassana, a cooked food vendor whose shop is located close to a school. She expressed serious concern over how parents no longer able to add egg and beans to rice for their ward for lunch at school.

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”The problem this high food price go cause is very big o. Parents cannot buy egg for their children again o. Children are not getting complete diet again. Na serious problem we day o”; she lamented.

Before now, a scoop of rice was sold for N50, scoop of beans N50 while egg was N100. A child’s lunch could contain 3 scoups of rice, 1 scoop of beans and one egg. This would cost a parent as low as N300 to provide a meal for a child. Parent with 2 to 3 children could afford to spend average of N900 for their lunch at school.

The recent increases have raised the price of a scoop of rice to N200, a scoop of beans to N300 and egg to N250. This means that for a child to eat a complete meal, a parent need to spend N1,150. For a parent to provide lunch for 3 children, he must spend as high as N3,450. This is practically not possible for many parents in Nigeria.

Hassana said parents now manage to buy rice without beans and egg. Instead, they buy pomo (cow skin) though not still as cheap as before.

Last week, CEM sampled prices of beans across the country. In sokoto, a 100kg bag of brown beans was N215,000 while white beans was N198,000. In Ife, (drum) sold for N220 from resellers while direct suppliers sold it at the rate of N190,000. In Ile-epo market in Lagos, (drum) was N210,000 while (oloyin) sold for N235,000.

Withing a week, prices in Sokoto have moved with white now selling at the rate of N205,000 while brown is selling at the rate of N235,000. In Lagos, brown beans (oloyin) is selling at the rate of N260,000 while (drum) goes for N220,000. White beans is selling at the rate of N190,000

Currently, a de Rica of brown (oloyin) is selling at the rate of N2,000, (drum) N1,700 while de Rica of white beans is N1,500).

A parent, Daramola simply described the situation as ‘crazy’. ”What Nigerians never thought would happen is happening, it is really crazy”; he said. To him, it is crazy because Nigeria is made of 65% farmers cultivating all crops, yet Nigeria is experiencing such acute shortage of food and choking high food prices.

A check at market Saturday, reveals that a crate of 30 eggs now sell at the rate of N5,000 leaving 1 egg to sell at the rate of N200. Cooked food vendols now sell it for N250.

It is recommended that children above 2 years consume 1 egg per day to supply daily required nutrients. Its affordability is essential to meet the daily recommended consumption. Now, it is no longer affordable by the low income earners who make up to 60% of the Nigerian population.

Read Also; Food Prices Soar, Leaving Families Struggling to Eat

Plant protein serves as alternative source to the body. It is recommended by the United States Dietary Guidelines that 1/2 cup of beans should be consumed per day or 3 cups per week by children.

Daramola has 4 children. The amount he spends to keep up with the required nutrition has quadrupled. He only now struggle to provide what just keep his family surviving not minding what the meals contain.

A large number of families go through the same situation like that of Daramola consuming anything anyhow just to survive. If this current food situation persist without urgent and concrete measure to arrest it, Nigeria will run into bigger issues of widespread malnutrition with it’s attendant general health implications

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