What does jollof rice have to do with government policy on LPG use? Well, the Federal government is making efforts to encourage citizens to utilize Nigeria’s huge gas reserve and discourage the use of firewood in Nigeria.
Meet Mrs. Koffo, a smoked-fish monger at Ibeju lekki. Her husband is a fishnet maker while her son is a fisherman. We came across them during the Zenith Bank-sponsored LPG awareness and empowerment campaign at Ibeju Lekki.
LPG For The Home, Not For Business
Mrs. Koffo, was excited and welcomed the idea of LPG, which she soon started using to make meals at home. However, she frowned at it when she was told that it could also be used to smoke fish. At the time, She dried fish in an enclosed space. Here, she inhales a huge amount of smoke on a daily basis, thus jeopardizing her health.
Team members were quick to observe that Mrs. Koffo looked many years older than her stated age. In every likelihood, her many hours of “smoking” were responsible for this.
Yet, according to her, “the look, feel and taste of the fish will be different if she uses gas”. In the same way, some people would always opt for “firewood rice”(Jollof rice made with firewood), claiming it had a better taste.
Firewood Jollof vs LPG Jollof
The “look and feel” of smoked fish, and the taste of firewood Jollof, are but 2 of the many challenges still to overcome in the drive for LPG use in Nigeria. Policymakers and in this case, policy drivers, must be well aware of the cultural nuances in the country as the campaign progresses. Typically, these age-old norms are hard to change. And when change comes at a seemingly high financial cost, it is even more difficult to effect.
Although we had achieved moderate success during this campaign, we noticed that some traditional practices could hinder the use of LPG in many communities in Nigeria.