The worrying rise in the cost of preparing a pot of Jollof Rice
The figures from the first SBM Intelligence’s Jollof Rice Index for 2018 are in. But there is not much to cheer. No, the food crisis bedevilling some parts of Nigeria’s northeast has not spread its wings to other parts of the country. The ghost of the inflation-fuelled 2016 still looms in the dark of markets across the country.
The SBM Jollof Rice Index, a composite index that tracks the prices of the main ingredients used to prepare a pot of one of Nigeria’s primary delicacies, Jollof rice, shows that it costs Nigerians more to prepare a pot of Jollof rice [including the mandatory chicken] for five persons than it did in 2016. This reality is antithetical to the latest figures released by Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics. According to the NBS figures, inflation slowed to 14.33 per cent in February, the lowest since April 2016.
The drop in headline inflation represents the thirteenth consecutive disinflation since January 2017 and is 0.8 per cent points less than the rate recorded in January 2018 (15.13) per cent.
However, the Food Index increased by 17.59 per cent (year-on-year) in February, down by 1.33 per cent points from rate recorded in January 2018 (18.92) per cent. During the month, all major food sub-indexes increased.
Expectedly, since it was last released in September 2017, the Jollof Index declined steadily for October and November 2017, reﬂecting the slowdown in food inﬂation. But it rose in January, as a result of the carry-over of the inevitable rise in December. It has begun to decline again.
However, the rate of decline is still slow. A comparison of the February 2018 cost with the base at July 2016 shows a 36 per cent difference with the later date being greater.
Like the last time the index was published, Kano takes the crown as the place where it is costliest to prepare a pot of Jollof Rice – at ₦6,790 as at February 2018. This is less than the ₦7,340 the last time this report was released. The ingredient responsible for this is turkey, as a kilogram of turkey in Kano’s Sabon Gari market costs signiﬁcantly more than in most other markets. Awka in the South East continues to have the lowest Jollof costs, at ₦4,760.