Monday, July 4, 2011
Improving grain quality of local rice
A host of interrelated production and marketing constraints hinder the expansion of local production. Though consumers in Mali and Guinea tend to prefer local rice, in many other countries domestic rice sells at a discounted price due to perceptions about its poor quality. Most of the factors that underlie this poor quality are related to post-harvest management operations, resulting in rice with stones and other impurities.
The quality and homogeneity of paddy delivered to rice millers is not always good. Poor practices by farmers in harvesting, threshing, drying and storing generally contribute to lowering the quality of locally-produced rice by mixing good paddy with damaged grains as well as foreign matter. Paddy grains are often dried on asphalted road where they mix with stones and other foreign matter. Locally-produced rice sold in most African markets generally contains broken and whole grains of different varieties, sizes, and color.
To enhance the market value and appeal of locally-produced rice, it will be necessary to improve the appearance, cleanliness and homogeneity of grains. This will require that rice farmers adopt better harvest and post-harvest paddy handling practices. The improvement of rice processing technologies is also critical.
In Nigeria a majority of rice millers attributed the difference in the quality between locally milled rice and imported milled rice to the type of processing technologies. Though the difference in the price of domestic and imported grain supported establishment of mills, the millers could not buy improved machines due to the unavailability of credit and sufficient throughput of locally-produced paddy.