Assessment of Postharvest Handling and Quality Control Practices of Rice in North Central Nigeria: A Case Study of Lafia, Nasarawa State

Type Journal Article - Journal of Developments in Sustainable Agriculture
Title Assessment of Postharvest Handling and Quality Control Practices of Rice in North Central Nigeria: A Case Study of Lafia, Nasarawa State
Volume 6
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2011
Page numbers 143-163
Demand for rice in Nigeria has been increasing in recent years, and it has now become a food security and cash
commodity crop. Rice features regularly on the daily menus of almost all Nigerians, and currently consumption is
estimated at about 5 million tonnes annually. Although the country produces over 2 million tonnes of rice each year,
representing about half of its rice requirement, research reports indicate that the rice is of poorer quality and grade than
imported rice owing to the presence of broken and damaged grains, stones, and other impurities. This has led to low
consumer demand for domestic rice. The poor competitive status of the local product in the domestic and international
markets is thus discouraging and hampering the development of the rice industry in Nigeria.
This study carried out an assessment of the paddy rice processing and quality control methods used in Nigeria.
Milled rice samples from selected target areas were analyzed for specific physical and cooking qualities, including
head rice yield; ratio of broken, cracked, and damaged grain; foreign matter; whiteness; hardness; cooking time; grain
elongation and swelling ratios; and water uptake. The results, which were compared with those obtained from two
foreign milled rice samples, showed significantly greater percentages of broken, and damaged grains in rice milled in
Nigeria (Lafia 1, Lafia 2, and Assakio) than in those produced and milled in other countries (referred to here as
Thailand and Japan) (p<0.05). Head rice yield was significantly lower in domestic rice than in foreign rice (p<0.05.
Notably, no foreign matter was found in the Thailand and Japan samples. Mean cooking time for Japan (nonparboiled
rice) was about 16 min and between 15 and 23 min for the other (all parboiled) rice. There were no significant
differences in grain elongation among the samples, but the swelling ratio was better in the domestic rice samples
Lafia 1 and Lafia 2 than in the Thailand and Japan samples. The water uptake value in Thailand (2.07) was significantly
greater than that in the domestic rice (1.54 to 1.81) (p<0.05). It is therefore concluded that the methods
of postharvest handling in Nigeria produced rice with poor physical quality and average cooking quality, even though
the swelling ratio, one of the most important influences on consumer choice, was better in Nigerian rice. There is an
urgent need for the Nigerian Government and other stakeholders in the rice value chain to invest in infrastructure,
machinery, methodologies, and policies that will improve paddy rice processing capacity and processes and bring
about the much-needed improvement in the quality of Nigerian domestic rice.

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