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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Preparation cost for Jollof rice increases by 29.3%

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The cost of preparing a pot of jollof rice, a popular delicacy among Nigerians, rose from N13,106 in October to N16,955 in March 2024, a report has said.

SB Morgen (SBM) Intelligence, a geopolitical intelligence platform, disclosed the 29.3 per cent rise in the cost of preparing the delicacy in its latest report titled, “The SBM Jollof Index Q1 2024: Crisis at the table ”.

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The SBM Jollof Index tracks how much it costs to make a pot of jollof rice across 13 markets in six geopolitical zones for a family of five and uses the figures to measure the inflationary trends in the country.

In recent years, food prices have been on the rise across Nigeria. The situation deteriorated due to the impact of government policies such as the removal of subsidies on petrol, among others.

The upward trend in the prices of these staples and other products has weakened the purchasing power of many citizens, making it difficult for many households in the country to afford daily meals.

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Nigeria’s annual inflation rate rose to 33.20 per cent in March from 31.70 per cent in February, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in its latest inflation report.

According to the report, the food inflation rate in March 2024 quickened to 40.01 per cent on a year-on-year basis, 15.56 per cent points higher than the rate recorded in March 2023 (24.45 per cent).

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SBM Intelligence report said Nigeria experienced one of the worst food crises between October 2023 and March 2024.

“During this period, the cost of making a pot of jollof rice increased by 29.3 per cent, from N13,106 in October to N16,955 in March 2024,” it said.

The primary trigger for the increase, according to the report, was the Naira depreciation, which moved from a monthly average of N796 to a dollar in October 2023 to a monthly average of over N1,513 in March 2024.

This, it said, severely affected food affordability, particularly as the country still largely depends on food imports to meet its food demands.

For example, it said the price of a bag of rice increased from about N56,000 in October 2023 to approximately N87,000 in the first week of March 2024.

“These price increases occurred against unresolved long-standing issues driving food prices up, such as conflicts in food-producing regions, reduced arable land, climate variability, and increased energy costs (electricity and fuel).

“During this period, various interventions were implemented to alleviate the pressure faced by Nigerians. However, less than a quarter of the population enjoyed these interventions, thus questioning their effectiveness and sustainability,” the report said.

The report further explained that the food crisis shows no signs of ending soon.

It said rising prices are fueling malnutrition, crime, and other social problems.

“Interventions have focused on addressing immediate hardships, but strategic planning is needed to ensure food is both affordable and available.”

In Nigeria, the report said resolving ongoing conflicts and transitioning to mechanised agriculture are key steps toward a sustainable solution.

“The price of rice, Nigeria’s most common staple, experienced an unprecedented hike during this period, with alternatives like spaghetti also costing more than many can afford.

“This has led to many people skipping meals. For children who miss meals, the impact is significant—they may become restless, struggle to focus in class, and experience weakened brain development.

“Adults also suffer from malnutrition, leading to increased fatigue and a diminished ability to compete with better-fed peers in more developed countries. These harsh realities contribute to a higher crime risk as people become desperate to meet basic needs, emphasising the importance of long-term strategies to combat food insecurity and its far-reaching effects,” the report said.

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