There has been a long-standing debate between the West African nations, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal about who has the origin of Jollof rice. This dish is a West African cuisine made of rice and fish, spiced with vegetables and tomatoes.
UNESCO has officially recognized Senegal as the origin of Jollof rice. Senegalese Jollof rice is also known as Ceebu jen. Research from Conversation Africa showed that the origins of Jollof rice can be traced to the entrenchment of colonial rule in West Africa between 1860 and 1940. During this period, the French colonizers replaced food crops with broken rice imported from Indochina. Meanwhile, broken rice became more priced for the Senegalese than a whole rice grain, which birth the dish called Ceebu jën.
It has been recognized as an intangible heritage of humanity by UNESCO. It is a source of pride and cultural identity for the Senegalese.
For the Senegalese, Jollof rice is also linked to a particular way of life, and consumption is connected to ceremonial events.
The Ceebu jen recognition by UNESCO has put an end to the ongoing debate over its origins and solidified Senegal’s claim as the true home of Jollof rice.
This certification is expected to positively impact the economy, particularly in tourism, agriculture, fishing, and catering.