Since 2015, SBM Intelligence has tracked the prices of key household items across major markets in the country. In order to communicate the price trend and consumer price index to Nigerians in a simple but clear manner, SBM began publishing the Jollof Index, a composite index which tracks the prices of the main ingredients for a nationally accepted staple food, Jollof rice, and publishes on a quarterly basis how these prices have moved and how much a rich pot of Jollof rice with attendant proteins will set a Nigerian family back by across the country.
Nigerians currently spend between 56% and 60% of their income on food on the average. This is amongst the highest in the world. Hence reductions or increases in the price of food have an outsized impact on the quality of life of Nigerians, and by extension, on how much Nigerians have as income to allocate to other essentials such as clothing, housing, transportation, healthcare and schooling, and then discretionary income. We believe that it must be a strategic imperative for the government of Nigeria at all levels to make food cheaper for Nigerians.
As inflation has slowed down over the last few months, hovering at 11.25% from highs of over 18% at the height of the recession, the national Jollof Index has followed a similar path. Not only has the price stabilized but it started to decline in the early months of 2019.
For the first time since we began tracking the index, Lagos is no longer the most pocket friendly city to cook Jollof, Onitsha and Awka in Anambra State haven taken the mantle to become the cheapest region to cook Jollof in the markets we tracked.
Nigerians continue to manage funds by buying ingredients in smaller bits as opposed to bulk buying and storing which may reduce cost of the foodstuff.
Of all the Jollof making ingredients, only one was the same price across all the 11 markets we tracked in six states across the country – tinned tomatoes, at ₦70 for the small tin. We also must fix our transportation and logistics of moving foodstuff across the country. For instance, eight small pieces of tomatoes cost only ₦50 in Kano. A mere five hours away in Abuja, the same eight tomatoes cost ₦200, four times their Kano price. This price difference is mainly found in the logistics of moving the tomatoes.
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