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Saturday, March 30, 2019

Rice on the rise: Promoting consumption of enriched rice and its products

Rice on the rise: Promoting consumption of enriched rice and its products

Innovation is the best practice for development in the society. When malnutrition is the country`s major issue then innovative food products might possibly be one of the alternative solutions to explore. Rice is the main staple food in Nigeria. It is the major source of energy especially by supporting the carbohydrate and protein requirements for not only Nigerian people including many other countries of the world.
Given the importance of rice as a staple food in Nigeria, boosting its production has been accorded high priority by the government in the past 7 years with a consumption per capita of 32kg.
People of many countries are dependent on various cereals for food supply such as wheat, barley and so on. Surprisingly it has been proven that rice and rice-based products have more health benefits and preserve local tradition and best use of local resources.  Thanks for such in Nigeria.



Statistics show that Nigeria is one of the largest consumer and producer of rice in West Africa sub-region producing over 3.7 million tons of milled rice on the average annually which has led to the drastic reduction of annual imports from 4.5 million tons to 800,000 metric tons. This has made Nigeria the second largest producer of the grain in Africa after Egypt and listed among the top sixteen producers of rice in the world with her local production valued at N684 billion ($1.9 billion). What an amazing report!
International diabetes association (IDF) in its IDF Diabetes Atlas 8th Edition 2017, has shown that the prevalence of diabetes is higher in the USA than Bangladesh. While the people of the USA are highly dependent on wheat or wheat-based products such as bread, cake, pizza and so on. On the contrary, the inhabitants of Nigeria, take rice as the main food in various forms such as unparboiled, parboiled, fermented etc. and suffered less in such diseases.
Hundreds of years, scientists and researchers are working on rice around the world. They found rice contains many essential minerals such as Zn, Cu, Co, Fe, Mg, vitamins (Thiamin, riboflavin etc.) and various antioxidants, which have a great role in metabolic mechanisms and support to prevent various diseases by acting as anti-cancer, anti-inflammation, anti-diabetes, and anti-cardiovascular disease.
Due to its greater importance, scientists are trying to develop new improved varieties through breeding for higher yield as well as improving their nutritional contents. Among them, Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) has released ninety-two (92) high yielding varieties (HYVs) including both inbreed and hybrids until 2018. By this time, Grain Quality and Nutrition Division of BRRI has identified some promising nutritiously enriched HYVs such as black rice, anti-oxidant enriched rice, low glycemic index rice(Low GI),anti-depressive alias gamma-amino butyric acid(GABA) enriched pre-germinated brown rice and micronutrient enriched rice, especially Zn enriched rice.
The rice sector in Nigeria is one of the most important remarkable agricultural developments. over the decades. ,


Few  limited rice-based processed items are available namely flattened, popped and puffed rice to meet local demand as traditional food items. We assume that there is a potential scope to enhance nutraceutical enriched rice-based food considering malnutrition mitigation and humanitarian relief operation into account.

Rice-based foods also have the highest digestibility of 99.70% among all types of cereals. In addition, rice-based products are gluten free which is most suitable for children especially autistic children.
Rice-based balanced and nutritious food intake may possibly reduce the whole rice consumption rate gradually and attain the required dietary allowance that helps to sustainable food security in Nigeria in a way of proper and effective utilization of the rice grain. It will also open diversified uses and rice-based food products in Nigeria.
Finally, Rice is spectacularly diverse, both in the way it is grown and how it is used by humans. Rice is unique because it can grow in wet environments that other crops cannot survive in. Such wet environments are abundant across Asia.
In lieu of the above, it should be noted that there is a continuous increase in the demand and supply of rice daily in Nigeria and If there is increased production of rice in Nigeria for domestic consumption and exports, the country is sure to earn more than enough to develop its economy.


Written by: Al-Mustapha Ibrahim I
almustaphaibrahim03@gmail.com
University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria.

Edited by: Campus Agriculture Network Editorial Board.

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