CONSUMER PREFERENCE FOR RICE CONSUMPTION IN NIGERIA
Rice consumption is of interest to the Nigerian economy because of the huge amount of foreign exchange being spent on its importation and the consequent depletion of scarce resources on which the level of economic activities and productivity are based. This study was aimed at identifying the quality of rice preferred by Nigerians for rice food recipes and consequently efforts made to improve the quality of locally produced rice to the taste of Nigerians. A total of 23 rice varieties were acquired from experimental fields of National Cereal Research Institute (NCRI), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan and Badegi Rice Breeding Centre in Bida. Consumer preference survey of boiled rice and â€˜Tuwoâ€™ foods were carried out in 6 major commercial and traditional cities of Nigeria to determine the quality of rice preferred for boiled rice and â€˜Tuwoâ€™ rice foods. The survey was in questionnaire format and was carried out in Bida (Niger State), Zaria (Kaduna State), Maiduguri (Borno State), Benin (Edo State), Port-Harcourt (Rivers state) and Ibadan (Oyo State). Consumers preferred parboiled over unparboiled rice and moderate to flaky rice quality over to soft and sticky rice foods. The rating by taste panelists in Bida, Zaria and Maiduguri metropolis indicated IRAT 112, FARO 15, ITA 117 and ITA 123 were most preferred for â€˜Tuwoâ€™ foods, while the least-preferred varieties were ITA 132 and TOX 1768. Consumers also preferred high amylose rice for â€˜Tuwoâ€™ to low amylose, sticky rice quality. Also the rating of 6 rice varieties with respect to boiled rice indicated that ITA 117, IART 112 and FARO 15 were most preferred for boiled rice, while TOX 1768 and ITA 132 were the least-preferred in Rivers, Edo, and Oyo States perhaps as a result of peopleâ€™s preference for flaky rice quality for most of their rice recipes. The results indicated that most Nigerians prefer rice with moderate to high flaky rice quality suggesting that in any rice improvement programme in Nigeria these characteristics should be given a premium.
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