Rice has become a popular staple in Africa because it is a convenience food for the rapidly increasing urban population. In Ghana about 70% of the rice consumed is imported. Domestic rice is not competitive because of its perceived poor grain quality. This study assessed the influence of grain quality and other factors on farmers’ preference for improved rice varieties. It also investigated how specific grain quality attributes influence farmers’ preference for improved rice varieties. The probit regression model was used to assess the influence of grain quality attributes and other factors on farmers’ preference for improved rice varieties. The results showed that, age, sex, tolerance to pest and diseases, farm size, and good grain quality had a positive influence on farmers’ preference. Experience in rice cultivation however negatively influenced farmers’ preference for rice varieties. Furthermore, specific grain quality attributes such as, grain length and shape, fragrance, cooking quality, grain color, and absence of foreign matter also positively influenced farmers’ preference for rice varietal traits while chalkiness had a negative influence. Improving grain quality will increase consumer demand for locally produced rice and farmer preferences for improved rice varieties. This has the potential of increasing local rice production and ensuring self-sufficiency in rice production. By implication, there is the need to invest into the development and deployment of rice varieties that have grains that meet the expectations of farmers to propel wide spread adoption and utilization of domestic rice.
Key words: Ghana, grain quality, preference, rice varietal traits.
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