Rice has become an important staple in Ghana in recent years but most consumption is met by imports. In this study, farmers’ preferences for rice varietal traits especially grain quality and the relationship of grain quality with consumer acceptability of locally produced rice was investigated in the Ashanti region of Ghana. Both formal and informal survey approaches were employed to collect data. The farmers preferred rice varieties with high yield potential and excellent grain quality. Jasmine 85 was the most popular variety because of its good taste and pleasant aroma. Other important traits that farmers consider in choosing a variety included plant height, threshability, disease resistance and weed competitiveness but these were site specific. Most consumers preferred imported to locally produced rice because the former had better appearance, cooking and eating qualities. Surprisingly, consumers’ perceptions on various grain quality attributes were generally lower than those of farmers. However, quality attributes were considered by both farmers and consumers to be important for making choices for rice varieties and their specific preferences largely coincided. Most consumers and farmers prefer long grain aromatic rice that cooks soft and fluffy. The results of the survey emphasizes the need for Rice breeders in Ghana and the West African sub-region in general to focus more on breeding for improved grain quality in addition to high yield potential and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses.
Key words: Ghana, rice breeding, farmer varieties, consumers preferences, grain quality.
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