Quality improvement of domestic milled rice is an urgent issue in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) because domestic rice cannot compete with imports in the growing urban market. Past studies considered poor milling facilities to be a major factor leading to the inferior quality of domestic rice. However, even with the modern milling facilities recently established in SSA, the quality of milled rice is not yet necessarily competitive with imports. Thus, finding ways to improve the quality of paddy remains an important question in SSA.
We hypothesize that the lack of knowledge of paddy quality and its relationship with price causes farmers to continue producing low-quality paddy. We conduct a field experiment in northern Ghana to verify this hypothesis. We randomly selected 108 villages and 10 rice producers from each of the villages. From this sample, we randomly chose 54 treatment villages and provided farmers with information about quality-enhancing technologies and quality parameters appreciated by the market. Utilizing data collected before and after the intervention, we found that the intervention significantly influenced farmers in the adoption of some quality-enhancing practices. Moreover, the intervention induced important behavioral changes among the treated farmers: they sold more aromatic varieties of paddy outside the village than the control farmers and received a higher sales price.
Thus, we conclude that the provision of information about paddy quality and quality-based pricing improved farmers’ paddy production management and market sales. It is noteworthy that even a low-cost intervention without any technical training was able to generate sufficiently desirable outcomes.
Keywords: Rice, Randomized Controlled Trial, Quality Improvement, Price, Ghana