Ofada Rice Farmers have been urged by the Lagos State Government to rebrand the produce to improve market visibility and global acceptance.
State Commissioner for Agriculture, Ms. Abisola Olusanya, made the call during the Ofada Day Rice Symposium themed, “Repositioning the Brand for Local and International Markets,” which was held recently in Lagos.
The event which was part of the activities marking the World Food Day 2021 celebrations was put together by the ministry and Ofadaboy.
Olusanya, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Hakeem Adeniji, noted that the rebranding could be achieved by promoting the dietary and health benefits of Ofada rice.
In addition, engaging in standard processing, pointing out that the grains must be organic, odourless, homogeneous, free from impurities and appropriately packaged.
According to the commissioner, the state government continues to empower and encourage Ofada rice farmers in the state to sustain and improve the local rice brand.
“The acceptability of this brand has been hindered by the method of processing and packaging. The locally processed Ofada rice has a pungent smell as a result of fermentation during parboiling.
“There is also the issue of impurities such as the presence of stones in the rice. Most people have erroneously attributed the smell as a genuine property of Ofada rice and this does not meet international standards,” Olusanya said.
She disclosed that to correct these errors and put Ofada rice on the global map, the Lagos State government initiated the Rice for Job Programme in 2008 to commence the promotion of hot water soaking of Ofada rice during parboiling.
Additionally, placing of dried paddy in a De-stoner machine to eliminate stones and other impurities during milling was also carried out.
The commissioner stated, “The Lagos State Government’s 32 metric tons per hour capacity Integrated Rice Mill at Imota, Ikorodu LGA, the biggest in Nigeria and West Africa, is nearing completion.
“At full capacity, it would produce 2,400,000 bags of 50kg polished parboiled rice from about 200,000 Metric tons of paddy rice annually.
“It is expected that no fewer than 250,000 direct and indirect jobs would be created along the entire rice value chain.”
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