In March 2021, the average cost of making a pot of Jollof rice for the average Nigerian family stood at N7,124 but has increased up to N7,618 in June 2021, marking a 6.93% increase within a period of three months.
This was disclosed in the quarterly SBM Jollof index report for Q2 2021 titled “Jollof Index Q2 2021: Food Prices Enter Geostationary Orbit”, published by SBM Intelligence.
The Jollof rice index covers major food items used in making a pot of jollof rice such as rice, curry, thyme, seasoning cube, groundnut/vegetable oil, turkey/chicken, beef, other seasonings, pepper, tomatoes, salt and onions.
The increased food prices coupled with a high unemployment rate speaks of the growing misery index of Nigerians and the declining ability to purchase food. The contributing factors are enormous as emphasised in our previous reports; a combination of government and market failures.
Restating the key drivers, insecurity, adverse weather conditions, lack of storage facilities, increased energy tariffs, land border closure policy and the Coronavirus Pandemic made critical impacts.
This begs the question, how do 40.1% of Nigerians who were already below the poverty line before the Pandemic purchase food considering the exacerbating effect of the Coronavirus?
SBM advised the federal government to reverse unnecessary fixation on domestic food production, and rather prioritise the availability of cheap food, both locally produced and imported, and providing the support everyone needs to produce or bring in food.
It asked the federal government to remove the politicising of security and deal with it across Nigeria, especially in food-producing areas of the country.
SBM further said the federal government needs to look urgently into the storage and infrastructure around food preservation and transportation in the country.
SBM warned that the prevalence of stunting in children under five increased to a 36.8 score from 36.2 in 2012 and the proportion of the undernourished in the population grew from 7.6 in 2012 to 12.6 in 2020. However, the prevalence of wasting in children under five (14.1 in 2012 to 6.8 in 2020) and the under-five mortality rate (13.0 in 2012 and12.0 in 2020) have both dropped.
In the 2020 Global Hunger Index (GHI), Nigeria ranks 98th out of the 107 countries, getting a GHI score of 29.2 out of a 100-point scale. This places Nigeria at a hunger level that is considered serious. However, when compared with data from 2012, when the country had a GHI score of 32, which is an 8.75% decrease.