Liberians Urge To Eat Nutritional Food

MONROVIA-Nutrition is a critical part of health and development. Better nutrition is related to improved infant, child, and maternal health, stronger immune systems, safer pregnancy and childbirth, lower risk of non-communicable diseases (such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease), and longevity.

In Liberia, Liberian cuisine is centered on the consumption of rice, cassava, plantain, yam, tropical fruits and vegetables (potatoes, greens, cassava leaf, okra, cabbage), as well as fish, meat, and more. Liberia also has a tradition of baking, including cornbread, sour bread, rice bread, banana bread, and cakes.

The stable foods for Liberian people in general are rice, cassava, eddoes, palm oil, yams, potatoes, various vegetable greens, and occasionally fish. Rice and cassava are the two foods available to nearly everyone.

Low food diversity and a lack of animal protein is a real concern for Liberia’s rural population, with Liberians highly rice dependent.

While most Monrovians complement their daily rice with meat or fish and vegetables, those living outside the capital consume meat and fish far less regularly.

An expert View on the matter

According to Dr. Annette Brimah Davies. Director of Nutrition at the Ministry of Health, awareness on the importance of Nutritional Diet is one of the factors that need to be considered.

Dr. Davies revealed that if the necessary information and awareness are created, many Liberians develop an interest in eating will make a balanced diet.

The nutritionist also said economic situation is another factor that is contributing to the low consumption of nutritional diet by many Liberians.

“It is difficult for a typical Liberian to just avoid eating rice to consuming eddoes or plantain”

She encourages Liberians to get involved in making backyard gardens where some of these nutritional plants can be grown for consumption.

In an interview with some Liberians on the issues of a Balanced Diet, the interviewees stressed the need for urgent awareness on eating a nutritional diet by Liberians.

They commended donors for creating the platform and supporting government efforts in tackling the issue of nutrition in Liberia.

Though there is no direct budget line for nutrition in the National budget, the Government of Liberia in concert with donor partners is exerting and exploring all mediums to ensure that nutrition is prioritized.

The Liberian government is committed to providing a comprehensive package of nutrition services but more needs to be done.

Policies, guidelines, and laws on nutrition need to be updated. Only half of all health facilities routinely provide nutrition services and 40 percent of the population has limited access to health care, according to a UNICEF survey


From statistics gathered, by UNICEF about 45% of households in the rest of the country do not consume this protein-rich food group at all, whilst they rarely consume milk or fruits.

Nationally 27% of Liberians have low dietary diversity1, but this figure masks the wide gap between those in the capital and those outside (2.4% of Monrovians vs. 41% of others).

At the county level, for example in Bomi, Bong, Grand Kru, River Gee, and Maryland the proportion with low diversity is close to half (49.6%), while in River Cess the prevalence is as high as 60%.

A worrying 7% of households in Grand Kru, 6% in Maryland, and 5% in River Cess consume a diet that consists only of staples and vegetables. More than one in three Liberian households has unacceptable food consumption. Of these, 4% have poor consumption, which means they consume an extremely unbalanced diet that is likely calorie deficient c and mainly consists of a daily staple (generally rice) flavored with some fish condiment.

The 30% of households with borderline consumption on supplement their daily staple consumption with vegetables and oils about six days a week. They eat small amounts of fish and meat regularly, but as condiments rather than as a source of protein.

The need for more awareness on a national level and economic empowerment will play a pivotal role in encouraging Liberians to consume a nutritional diet.

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