A new report ‘Understanding Nigeria’s Protein Deficiency status and evaluating campaign activities’, has identified and attributed the protein deficiency among Nigerians to poverty and unemployment, which was recently put at 33 percent by the National Bureau of Statistics.
Tagged the Nigerian Protein Deficiency Report 2020, which was conducted by Ipsos Nigeria Limited, a leading market research company, noted that historical, data show that Nigeria has a gap in its protein consumption when compared to other global economies, adding the country is ranked below the bar in global food security index with a protein per capita – daily intake lower than the global standard.
This, the report believes Protein Deficiency is a major burden that requires continuous interventions to combat and reduce a nutrition crisis in Nigeria.
Unveiling the report at the Protein Challenge Webinar Series 8, Mr. Obaro Agalabri, Service Line Lead (West Africa) Ipsos Nigeria Limited, stated that 40 percent of Nigerians representing 82 million live below the poverty line of one dollar per day. This has largely affected protein consumption as the average cost of protein per meal is N80. Meaning, the average cost of protein for three meals for a Nigerian per day is N240.
“Poverty, unemployment and lack of awareness is majorly the cause of protein deficiency in Nigeria. In fact, cost and household income levels remain the major deterrent to adequate protein intake in Nigeria. This is more prevalent in the North and lowers social classes. Need to drive deliberate efforts that are targeted towards affordable protein sources for a household to boost daily intake,” he said.
Mr. Obaro added that the most commonly consumed sources of protein in Nigeria are Beans, Meat and Fish. But with this, he argued that almost half of the population of Nigeria do not consume Protein on a daily basis as against recommended consumption. This is more prevalent in the North and East, and amongst the lower class.
Meanwhile, a Nutritionist, Dr. Beatrice Chinyem Oganah-Ikujenyo of the Department of Home Economics, Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education, Oto/Ijanikin Lagos, while speaking on ‘Exploring the issues behind protein deficiency in Nigeria’, has argued that the reasons behind the inadequate intake of proteins and micro-nutrients such as vitamin A, iron and iodine amongst other nutritional and health problems in Nigeria may be traced to socio-economic, cultural and political factors.
“Core issues facing the alleviation of protein deficiency are poor knowledge of food and feeding habits, poverty, high cost of animal protein and culture/superstitions, where children are rarely given large meat/fish portion,” she explained.
She suggested that the immediate solution to the challenge is sustained Nutrition Education on the importance of Protein in ensuring health and wellbeing through nationwide radio jingles, TV adverts/skits, social media campaigns, market/church/mosques association discussions. She believes this will highlight that children need more protein than adults, while the long-term solution would be making Nutrition a subject that should be taught from cradle to university as a general course.
The Nigerian Protein Deficiency Report 2020 was unveiled at the Protein Challenge Webinar Series 8. Protein Challenge is the tag of The Nigeria Protein Awareness Campaign, a Protein Pull media campaign supported by the United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and other partners to create awareness about the prevalence, status and impact of protein deficiency in Nigeria.
Managed by Mediacraft Associates, a leading PR firm based in Lagos, the Protein Challenge campaign seeks to promote the consumption of soybeans as the most cost-effective solution.
The Protein Challenge Webinar Series is one of a number of dedicated platforms for stakeholders to share ideas on protein, nutrition and health issues.
The survey was conducted by IPSOS, a leading market research company that carries out an in-depth analysis of various issues, such as health statistics, population demographics and other related fields.