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Business News of Thursday, 9 May 2013


Ghanaians need 12.7 cedis per day for a balanced nutritious meal?

The issue of high food prices globally, and indeed in Ghana, has been a debating point recently. New information sourced by Food Security Ghana (FSG) implies that Ghanaians need 12.50 Ghana cedis per person per day to enjoy a balanced and nutritious meal that contains 2,000 calories. This translates to 387.63 Ghana cedis per person per month.

The source of information for the above figures is Numbeo.

This is how Numbeo describe what it is all about on its website: In terms of food prices Numbeo collects data from consumers on 11 food items. From this data it calculates the price of a balanced diet meal for one day containing 2,000 calories.

There will be many critics who will shoot down this basket of foods as being irrelevant for Ghana. However, this data is collected globally for the same basket of items in order to get to a universally comparative basis of food prices.

This methodology has been applied in various forms such as the “Big Mac Index” published by the economist that is not without its limitations, but which is nevertheless another way to look at food prices.

In 2012, “Big Mac Index” for example found that Switzerland was the most expensive at US$ 6.81 while South Africa was the cheapest at US$ 2.38 amongst the countries included in their index.

According to Numbeo a balanced diet of 2,000 calories in Ghana costs US$ 6.43 per day or 12.72 Ghana cedis as per the exchange rate published by on 7 May 2013. This relates to 386.9 Ghana cedis.

Relative to other countries the cost of a Numbeo balanced daily meal is on the lower end of the scale. However, one must then also take into account the income levels in the various countries.

FSG made a basic calculation for purpose of comparison based on the GDP per capita in the various countries and compared that to the Numbeo figures that indicates the “percentage of income” required to buy a Numbeo balanced meal.

The issue is really that many Ghanaians are spending anything from 50% to 70% of their disposable income on food and that high food prices that increases month-by-month pushes these percentages up.

The solution to this dire position that many Ghanaians find themselves goes beyond just the cost of food, but is really a challenge to bring poverty levels down.

However, the high cost of food has to be a major concern for all including the government of Ghana, and no stone should be left unturned to minimise the effect of food prices on the quality of life for millions.

It is time that all stakeholders in the food chain combined to see what can be done to shelter the people of Ghana from a situation where food security may become a major risk to the well-being of the country and its people.