This study applied a multinomial logistic regression in examining factors driving consumer preference for locally produced rice in Nigeria. The data for the study were collected in Niger and Ekiti states in 2008 under the post harvest study programme of Africa Rice (EX-WARDA). Results of the various analyses underscored the significance of socio-economic factors as major drivers of consumer preference for local rice in Nigeria. Five of the coefficients of the explanatory variables (age, marital status, education of household head, primary activity of household head and sex of household head) significantly influence the consumer preference for Pategi relative to Aroso (imported rice). Similarly, five variables (age of household head, educational status of household head, and sex of household head) influence significantly, consumer preference for Igbemo relative to Aroso. Aside socio-economic variables, other factors found to have influence on consumer preference are frequency of purchase and price. In spite of the various types of local rice available in the markets, majority of consumers can identify different types based on their physic-chemical characteristics. Nevertheless, the two most highly rated criteria for selection of rice bought in the market are whiteness and absence of foreign materials. Further analysis also confirmed that about 82% of Nigerian eats rice at least once in a day. The significance of the socio-economic variables is an indication that policies and programmes for the development of the Nigerian rice sector should, in addition to enhancing the physico-chemical characteristics of rice, include value reorientation and sensitization of the people on the nutritional qualities of local rice.
Key words: Factors influencing, socio-economic, local rice, Nigeria.
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