How balanced are meals in Africa?
From Cape Town to Niamey, Lagos to Asmara, the trend is virtually the same. Almost all our meals in sub- Saharan Africa are carbohydrate based. Examining the constituent of our staple meals, they are either cassava or rice based, with yam or bread filling up whatever segment that is is left.
This explains why current Protein Deficiency Report of Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria has reveals that the country’s citizens consumption of carbohydrate was 91% while protein consumption stands at 53%.
The report was unveiled at the launch of the country’s Protein Awareness Campaign tagged ‘Protein Challenge Nigeria’.The study revealed that “51 per cent of respondents do not have adequate protein-rich foods due largely to high cost.”Just like most other African country, carbohydrates are the most consumed food amongst Nigerians.
A public health expert, Ikenna Madu commented that “the ageless view of food consumption pattern in Nigeria confirms what is generally prevalent in West Africa- Carbohydrates as the most commonly consumed food in our region and this has led to the prevalence of malnutrition increase which is now a serious public health concern Nigerian, especially the Northern region
The Protein Deficiency report also reveals that the major factors determining consumption patterns across the country are 79% availability and 68% affordability. Obviously, the higher cost of protein was singled out as a major reason for the low consumption of protein food sources in the country.
Seeing the fact that the challenge boils down to Africa’s inability to afford protein foods is not rocket science . A report on The World Poverty of 2018 showed that Nigeria overtook India as the country with the most extreme poor people in the world.
Even Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its poverty and inequality report for last year reveal that about 40 per cent of Nigerians live below its poverty line which represents about 82.9 million people out of a population of about 200 million.
This Nigeria Protein Deficiency Report was created as a part of Protein Challenge, a protein-pull media campaign supported by the United States Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and other partners, to grow awareness about the prevalence, status and impact of protein deficiency in Nigeria.
The goal has remained to shock and concomitantly motivate Nigerians and others in the west African sub-region to build up protein in general, and soybeans in particular to deepen health and wellness across the continent