Jollof Rice is a national monument.
Where 10 or more Nigerians are gathered for Owambe, jollof rice will pass over heads, land on tables, and dance in bellies.
Jollof rice is the symbol of Nigerian merriment.
But something else this weekend, and over the past few days, is quickly taking the place of jollof rice.
You see, Nigerians love Fried rice, but no matter how deep this love runs, Nigerians will always put it second place to good party jollof. So whether there are green peas or shredded chicken, the mascot of Nigerian merriment will always eremain jollof rice.
Did you hear Egypt is now Africa’s second largest economy? Yep. They became second largest not because they started growing very fast, but simply because South Africa started declining.
The same is happening with fried rice and jollof. Fried rice is now king because jollof rice is simply not doing enough.
What is the major element that gives jollof rice all its radiance? Tomato.
Nigeria is having a major tomato crisis.
A basket of tomatoes was sold for N5,000 in January 2016.
Yesterday, it was sold for N45,000 in Lagos, Nigeria.
— Emeka Obia (@Emeka_talks) May 14, 2016
And no, it’s not because of fuel price. Duh uh!
It is because of some tiny, relentless hoard; the Tuta Absoluta aka the Tomato Leafminer.
This tiny moth and its larva have wiped out entire hectares of Tomato farms. When they arrive, they damage the leaves, the stalk, they burrow into the fruit, whether or not they are ripe. 100% destruction of yield? Easy.
Most farms in Katsina have been hit, their tomatoes gone. Kaduna too. Kano is not exactly spared from the Absoluta offensive. Farmers over the past month have recorded a minimum of 40% yield loss on their farms.
You know the worst part?
It will not get better any time soon. The tomato processing factories can’t even salvage the situation, because Dangote’s tomato plant has been closed absoluta.
So it takes us back to the one thing Nigeria has been doomed to do; import.
Its like every time we try to stop importing something, the god of importation just looks at us like.
Oh, and just in case you think you have this figured out, the moths are resistant to most pesticides.
Yes people, Fried rice is going to reign for a while. Jollof will have to watch from the sidelines, red with misery and imported tomato paste.
You see this story, there are no happy endings in sight. Go forth and mourn for the Beloved.