BrandArena: Ofadaboy, LASG Advocates Opportunities for Nigeria’ Local Rice in the International Market

Wednesday 27 October 2021

Ofadaboy, LASG Advocates Opportunities for Nigeria’ Local Rice in the International Market

As part of the activities to mark 2021 World Food Week and the preparation toward the third edition of the annual Ofada Rice Day Festival scheduled for December, leading Indigenous Food Restaurant and outdoor catering company Ofadaboy in partnership with Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture recently held first ofada Rice symposium with the theme repositioning the brand for local and international market.

The symposium brought together various stakeholders in the value chain which include government representatives, farmers, food and catering practitioners, academicians, media, various business groups and others to x-ray business side of the subject and the huge opportunities. The keynote was delivered by the Commissioner for agriculture, while the panel sessions had respected professional gave their wealth of knowledge to the various topic. 

Speaking at the event, Convener of Ofada Rice Day Festival, Oluwatobi Fletcher, disclosed that Ofada Rice Day Symposium is an idea to restate the company’ interest in advocating and championing the huge opportunities in the local and international space for our own brand of rice. ‘We have today made history in the space of time to bring together various stakeholders to brainstorm and come up with blueprint that would lead to propagating enactment that will further open up channels for ofada rice globally.

While speaking, he appreciated partners, sponsors and various stakeholders for making the day a huge success as he invited everyone to the third edition of the festival themed IJOYA scheduled for December 2021.

Delivering the keynote address, Commissioner for Agriculture, Lagos State, Ms Abisola Olusanya ably represented by the permanent Secretary of ministry, highlighted the opportunities and the in-road the government has created to propel interest and profitability that enable more stakeholders come into the value chain.

She said, the demand for imported rice, in the not too distant past, spurred a great interest in an improvement in the production of domestic rice varieties such as Ofada rice which is the major focus of today’s Symposium.

Ofada rice is superior to other polished parboiled rice because it still retains most of its nutrients including protein, fat, ash, and crude fiber after the whitening and polishing processes. It is typically priced higher compared to other available rice, it has been regarded as a sign of status symbolism by some people and it is usually served at classy parties. Some or all of the rice brand is left on the grain after processing, thus, strengthening its nutritional value, flavor and cooking quality; the delicacy is recommended for the consumption of all.

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 (soaking). 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 standard.

To correct these errors and to put Ofada rice on the global map, the Rice for Job Programme of the Lagos State Government, in 2008, commenced the promotion of hot water soaking of Ofada rice during parboiling. The dried paddy was then taken into a destoner to eliminate stones and other impurities during milling, this led to an increase in rice production in Lagos State and neighbouring States and necessitated the establishment of the State’s cottage rice mills at Idena, Epe LGA and Ikoga, Badagry LGA, as well as, a Rice Mill of 2.5 Metric Tonne per hour capacity at Imota, Ikorodu in 2012. 

Lagos State Government’s 32 Metric Tonne per hour capacity integrated Rice Mill at Imota, Ikorodu LGA, the biggest in Nigeria and in West Africa, is nearing completion and at full capacity it would produce 2,400,000 bags of 50kg polished parboiled rice from about 200,000 Metric Tonnes of paddy rice annually. It is expected that no fewer than 250,000 direct and indirect job would be created along the entire rice value chain.

This year’s edition of the Ofada Rice Day will be focusing on re- branding for market visibility and positioning Ofada rice as a globally accepted brand. This can be achieved by reiterating and promoting the dietary and health benefits of Ofada rice and importantly an emphasis on standard processing putting the following factors into consideration, the rice must be organic and the grains should be odourless, homogeneous, free from Impurities and appropriately packaged.

The commissioner applauded Ofadaboy and the entire team for the stern believe in the project of advocating for the huge opportunities available for the brand of rice globally, while restating the government’ support to the festival.

The event was supported by notable brands including Coca-Cola, Nestle, Maggi and various other event and food vendors.

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