“Market Organisation and Consumers’ Perception of Locally Produced Rice in the Ashanti Region of Ghana”
Poor perception or attitude of consumers concerning local rice has adversely affected its production and consumption. It is general knowledge that there is a preference for imported rice and so local rice has a competitive disadvantage against imported rice. The question is, what factors account for the poor perception or attitude towards locally produced rice? This study was conducted to find out how the marketing of local rice was organised and coordinated in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. The study investigated the socio-economic profile of the market participants, the structure, conduct and performance of the local rice market, the perception or attitudes of consumers towards local rice. Information and data were collected from rice farmers, millers, paddy traders, wholesalers, retailers and consumers. The data were analysed using both descriptive and inferential methods. The descriptive method included the use of frequencies and percentages in analysing some of the trends or characteristics of the data. Kendall's Coefficient of Concordance (W) was used in the inferential analysis. The W was used to analyse the attributes of rice on which preferences were based by consumers. These attributes included colour, presence of stones or foreign material, taste, aroma or fragrance and cooking quality. Results indicated that at each level of the marketing chain, there were large numbers of sellers and buyers. None of the market agents controlled a sufficiently large share of the marketed volume, which they could use to influence prices to their advantage. Apart from their traditional roles, millers also provided other services such as loans and credit for farmers, and provision of storage facilities. Paddy traders also provided loans to farmers. Consumer ratings of local rice attributes that influence their choice depended on colour, aroma, stickiness, tastes, absence/presence of foreign materials, expansion and percentage of broken rice. Constraints identified were non-uniform weights and measures, inadequate information, difficulty in accessing transportation in the remote areas and difficulty in accessing loans. To help improve the system, it was recommended that the milling machines be provided with de-stoners to improve the quality of local rice. Provision of adequate market information and improved road network in the remote areas were also recommended.