Nigeria boasts of a diverse and array of local rice species, each with its unique characteristics, contributing significantly to the nation’s agricultural landscape. Among these varieties, Ofada rice stands out as a popular choice, predominantly cultivated and processed in the south-western region. Oko et al (2012), in a study on ‘Local and Newly-Introduced Rice Varieties in Ebonyi State of Nigeria based on Selected Agronomic Characteristics’, noted the counterparts to include Awilo, recognised for its specific grain width of 2.62mm ± 0.04, and E4197, distinguished by its impressive grain width of 4.1 mm. In Northern Nigeria, recommended varieties like Nkeki Kamai, Lucky Omoigui, and Alpha Yaya Kamara reflect the regional diversity of rice cultivation. Interestingly, south-eastern region of the country boasts of predominant presence of long grain rice varieties, constituting 77.78% of the local rice species, known for their robust grains (Azuka, 2021). However, rice cultivation in Nigeria spans over 3,500 years, underscoring its indigenous roots and economic significance. With an annual consumption of almost 7 million tonnes, rice farming has become one of the most lucrative agricultural pursuits in the country, positioning Nigeria as the largest rice producer in Africa, yielding approximately 8,435,000 tonnes annually (Adeite, 2012).
Beyond the quantitative success, the local rice varieties exhibit distinct features, ranging from high grain width to long grains and substantial weight. These characteristics contribute to the rich flavor and nutrient content that make Nigerian rice stand out in the market. The cultivation and consumption of local rice species play a pivotal role in Nigeria’s economic landscape, providing income and employment opportunities for farmers while contributing significantly to the nation’s food security. As these local gems continue to hold cultural and economic importance, marketing strategies should focus on emphasising their unique features, cultural significance, and health benefits. By positioning them as high-quality, locally-grown products, rich in flavour and nutrients, local rice varieties can capture the attention of consumers seeking authentic and indigenous options in a market flooded with imported alternatives.