Vendors Lament as Cost of Key Jollof Rice Ingredients Soars 37.4%
By Bliss Okperan, Adedapo Adesanya
The cost of cooking a pot of jollof rice, one of the most consumed foods daily in Nigeria, has surged by 37.4 per cent, according to research carried out by Business Post.
Using market data and the most recent food price watch by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), major food items in making the delicacy, including rice, groundnut oil, tomatoes, and onions, among others have recorded a massive increase within the past year, making it hard for the average Nigerian to survive.
According to NBS, 1 kilogram of Rice cost N757.06 in 2023 as against N471.42 in the same period of 2022, indicating a 60.6 per cent increase, as 1kg of Groundnut oil hit N1,496.17 in 2023 as against N1113.33, indicating a 34.4 per cent increase. The price of 1kg of tomatoes was recorded at N565.69 in 2023 versus N445.12, showing a 27.1 per cent increase in the past year and 1kg of onions now cost N515.59, a 28.9 per cent rise from N397.18 in the preceding year.
Using these four food items, preparing the meal would cost around N2,400 to make a pot of the delicacy last year, but with surging costs as a result of biting food inflation, this has risen to N3,330.
Complementary foods to jollof rice have also seen a rise with a bunch of ripe plantains now selling for an average price of N586.43, in contrast to N345.90, 12 months ago, which indicates a 69.5 per cent increase.
Frozen chicken, which previously retailed at N2,569.63 in 2022 recorded a 23.6 per cent increase as it jumped to N3,126.7 per cent and chicken wings cost N1,630.58 in 2023 as against N1,338.82 in 2022, indicating a 21.8 per cent increase.
For fish lovers, they saw 1 kg of frozen Titus fish surge by 22.4 per cent to N2,045.95 against N1,671.45 while the cost of buying one unit of Agric eggs cost N96.00 against its previous cost of N75.07 which indicates 27.9 increase.
Vendors Lament Cost Effect
Nigerians have continued to lament the growing prices of food, fuel, and other daily needs with the Dollar rate triggering a ripple effect in the cost of living. For food vendors, it has been challenging for their businesses.
According to Ms Gift Ogidi, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of EatAtYinz Restaurant, “Things are so expensive these days.”
She said the cost of tomatoes has almost tripled and has affected the cost of her soup varieties.
“I bought tomatoes for N6,000 in September and when I wanted to buy that same quantity this month, I was told it is now N15,000. After much bargaining, I bought it for N12,000. This is the same with other foodstuffs. This has affected the price of my meals as I have to review my prices. The annoying thing is that my customers would not understand and sometimes, I run at a loss because I am trying to please my customers.”
For her, “It is painful,” because “I cannot compromise the quality of my food but with the way things are going, Food vendors are left with two choices, reduce the quality and quantity of meals per serving or litre (depending on the package you offer) or increase the prices, well I went with the latter and trust me, business has been slow.”
Also, a street food seller in the Egbeda area of Lagos State identified as Bose, who spoke with this newspaper, said she was considering leaving the business because of the high cost of food items.
“Can you believe that a kilo of frozen turkey is now between N5,200 and N5,500, and chicken is between N3,000 and N3,200, depending on where you buy it. Fish is now also expensive. We find it difficult to make a profit these days,” she said.