By Matty Demont
Senior scientist, Social Sciences Division
1315-1415 H, Thursday, 4 April 2013
Havener Auditorium, IRRI
As a result of urban bias, African countries have become heavily dependent on rice imports with concomitant risks for food security. Local rice, however, often has difficulties competing quality-wise with imported rice in urban markets. Parboiling can enhance the quality of local rice, but traditional methods often yield poor grain quality. Local rice was parboiled through an improved parboiling technology and consumers’ willingness to pay for the end-product assessed through experimental auctions on the Yaoundé market. We found that, relative to traditionally parboiled rice, consumers were 14% more likely to purchase rice parboiled through the improved technology; those who perceived the improved product as imported (two-thirds of the auction participants) paid 5% price premiums for it, while traditionally parboiled rice was discounted by 2%. This suggests that the major value of the improved parboiling technology lies in its ability to successfully dedifferentiate local from imported rice.