Volume 3 No: 3_2018: Marketing and Promotional Plan for Local Rice Based on Drivers of Traders and Consumers Preferences

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SUMMARY

The Programme of Accompanying Research for Agricultural Innovation (PARI) is supported by the German Government through GIZ and coordinated in Africa by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). The project is aimed at facilitating functionality and efficiency of innovation platforms and innovation research uptake in Ghana and other African countries. This aspect of the project is aimed at identifying drivers of traders and consumers’ rice preferences to help develop a marketing and promotional plan for locally produced rice in Ghana.
Rice has become an important staple in Ghana and its consumption is estimated to far exceed local production. Hence the deficit is supplied through importation with an average annual import bill of US$ 450 million, which is a major concern for the government. Despite the low level of local rice production in Ghana, it is estimated that just about 20% of local rice is consumed in urban areas in particular due to consumer preference for imported brands. As a result, farmers have difficulty selling locally produced rice.
As an intervention to increase local rice production and consumption, the government of Ghana is undertaking rice upscaling programme with the goal of attaining self-sufficiency by 2018. To contribute to the success of this intervention, there was the need for detailed insights into the drivers of traders and consumer’s rice preferences to give policy advice on how to boost trading in local rice as well as its production, utilization and consumption to ensure increased income and food and nutrition security.
Recognising the crucial role traders play in marketing and distribution of rice in the country, this study was undertaken to assess their level of involvement, preferred rice types as well as factors that influence their preferences. Similarly, an assessment was done on consumers’ preferred rice choices as well as factors that influence their preferences. The objectives of this study were to:

A. To identify traders and consumers’ preferred rice types in rural rice-producing areas and non-rice producing urban centres
B. Assess the drivers of traders and consumers’ rice preferences to get better insights into factors that influence the sale, purchase, utilization and consumption of rice (local and imported) in Ghana
C. To develop a marketing and promotional plan to stimulate the production, sale, purchase, utilization and consumption of locally-produced rice in Ghana.

The study responds to the request by farmers in the Hohoe and Jasikan Rice Innovation Platforms, established under PARI Year 2 project (see Ampadu-Ameyaw et al., 2017), to identify traders and consumers’ rice preferences to enable them produce rice varieties that meet users’ demands. The study provided strategic guidelines for the development of a marketing and promotional plan for locally produced rice in Ghana. The report is structured as follows: Chapter one introduces the study including the study objectives, design and methodology. Chapter two presents findings of the market study with a focus on rice traders in Accra and Hohoe while Chapter three provides the findings of the consumer studies carried out in Accra and Hohoe. Chapter four presents the proposed marketing and promotional plan for locally produced rice as well as recommendations for improving the local rice value chain.

Most traders in Accra (urban centre) sold imported rice while most traders in Hohoe (rice-producing area) sold locally produced rice. However, in both cases, perfumed rice (also known as fragrant or aromatic rice) was widely sold. Most traders’ preferred rice choices were greatly influenced by product demand or marketability, profit margin, cost price, the popularity of the product, quality, competition and transport conditions. Generally, rice traders were of the view that they must increase the sale of local rice on the markets. For this to happen, many actors such as governments, farmers, traders, consumers and development partners have different roles to play to eliminate the constraints such as irregular availability, poor quality, poor packaging and weak promotional activities.
It was found out that rice was frequently consumed by most consumers in Accra and Hohoe. In Accra, most consumers preferred imported perfumed or fragrant rice while most consumers in Hohoe preferred locally produced perfumed rice. The main drivers of consumer rice preference were sensory characteristics such as taste, aroma, texture after cooking; nutritional quality; and absence of extraneous matters like stones, pieces of husk and pests. The greatest constraint to the purchase and consumption of local rice was its relatively higher price, irregular availability on the market, difficulty in cleaning it prior to cooking, and difficulty in cooking it because it easily gets soggy. Notwithstanding, majority of consumers were of the view that locally produced rice has health and economic benefits and therefore its production and consumption should increase. However, this could only happen when the identified constraints are eliminated, and consumers change their mindset and make efforts to buy and eat local rice and encourage family and friends to cook it both at home and for parties and other events. This is necessary because habit was found to be a stronger determinant of rice preferences hence when local rice is available and children, who are change agents, are encouraged to eat it they could develop the habit for eating locally produced rice. Negative attitude to local rice was also found to be a strong negative predictor of increased local rice consumption thus calling for the need for attitudinal change among consumers and other relevant actors in the rice value chain.
The market and consumer studies provided key inputs for the local rice marketing and promotional plan. The objectives of the local rice marketing and promotional plan are to:

A. Increase the production of local rice by 50% by 2020,
B. Increase the availability of local rice on the markets by 80%
C. Increase demand for local rice by 50% across all regions
D. Increase by 50% the number of catering establishments and public institutions such as hospitals and schools incorporating local rice in their menus
E. Convert at least 20% of local rice into shelf-stable marketable products for both household and commercial uses

This plan was based on the marketing mix of the 5Ps – Product, Price, Place, Promotion, and People. The plan provides strategies to ensure increased production of preferred rice varieties, affordable price offering as well as sensitising consumers to willingly pay for high valued products, ensuring effective distribution and supply of products, involving all key actors in the rice value chain and implementing an effective promotional plan. The following strategies are critical for an impactful promotion:

  • Support farmers to produce improved and acceptable rice varieties
  • Train farmers and millers in good handling practices and quality management
  • Link rice producers to markets across the country,
  • Establish local rice collection centres,
  • Launch awareness campaigns to highlight the benefits of producing, selling and consuming local rice,
  • Target households and individuals through food demonstrations,
  • Link local rice farmers, millers and traders to institutional feeding programs in school, hospitals, prisons etc.,
  • Train processors, food vendors and individual consumers in local rice processing and utilization

To conclude, rice is largely consumed in Ghana but perfumed, aromatic or fragrant rice is mostly preferred in both rice producing area such as Hohoe and urban centre Accra. In promoting local rice to increase its production, marketing, consumption and utilization, there is the need to consider consumer and traders’ preferences. As this study has revealed, there is the need to improve local rice availability, its sensory appeal as well as attributes such as quality and wholesomeness. The proposed local rice promotional plan should be implemented to increase production, marketing, consumption and utilization of locally produced rice in Ghana.
In terms of investment, there is the need for government and private sector to invest in rice production by providing improved and consumer preferred seeds; and supporting farmers with irrigation facilities, inputs and relevant machinery such as tractors and combined harvesters. Investments are also required in post-production activities to facilitate access to improved handling, milling and processing technologies and equipment; market opportunities; and improved packaging and promotional opportunities. In addition to the strategies indicated in the promotional plan, government should pay attention to the following to increase the growth of the local rice value chain:

  • Support farmers especially women and youth to acquire land for rice farming
  • Increase promotional activities and advertisements
  • Make policies to reduce or discourage rice importation
  • Build capacity for farmers in new, innovative and appropriate rice production technologies
  • Provide farmers with improved and consumer preferred seeds, inputs, relevant rice production machinery and equipment
  • Organise educational and awareness raising campaigns on benefits of local rice
  • Establish a central local rice market and ensure increased availability of rice on the markets
  • Educate farmers on appropriate post-production handling techniques to improve quality
  • Give financial support and incentives to the farmers
  • Support farmers, traders and processors improve on packaging
  • Increase investment in the local rice industry
  • Establish efficient rice processing factories
  • Link farmers to interventions programs such as school feeding project, and state institutions such as police, military, prisons, boarding schools. Put in place compulsion measures to ensure that these institutions use local rice
  • Improve roads to facilitate transportation of rice from production centres to other parts of the country
  • Make policies that will reduce cost of rice production and price of rice on the market

Key Words
Rice, Consumer preference, Traders preferences, Marketing plan, Promotional plan, Rice consumption, Rice production, Ghana