How much rice is consumed in Sierra Leone in a year

case partners
New answer on Jun 01, 2020
3 Answers
Anonymous A asked on May 30, 2020

Overview of answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best answer
Content Creator
updated an answer on May 31, 2020
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

This is a tough one! Could you let us know if you're applying to a W. African office? If not, there's quite a lot of difficult assumptions to make here.

That being said, here's how I'd go about this market sizing question:

What I know:

  • Sierra Leone is in West Africa, and not that large, meaning it's population is probably between 5 and 10 million
  • I thought West Africans generally eat flour-based food, but I would clarify whether rice was actually their staple (note, I googled this and confirmed that 85% of farmers cultivate rice)
  • They have a fairly high % of the population that's poor, so rice, being the staple, would be heavily consumed
  • When cooking, I use a cup of rice for every 3 people.

Now that I know what I know, I'll break this problem down.

8 million citizens times ~80% eating rice daily as their main source of nutrition = 6.4 million eating rice daily

1 cup of rice per person per day (I use 1 cup for 3 people as a side, so I'm assuming triple this to account for multiple meals and it being more of a base) = 6.4 million cups per day

6.4 million cups/day times 365 days/year = ~2.3 billion cups of rice a day

(Note: I would check if we need this calculation in servings or grams and adjust accordingly), meaning:

  • 6.9 billion servings
  • 460 trillion grams (~200 grams per serving)
  • 460,000 tonnes (1,000,000 grams in a ton)


Was this answer helpful?
Content Creator
replied on May 31, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut


Classical market sizing case that can be embebbed on a case.
I would go with:

  1. Calculation of total population
  2. Caltulation of number of households
    • For this, you would divide total population / average size of the household
  3. Estimation of how much a household consumes, in terms of rice:
    • Consider that it´s a diet heavily based on rice
    • Deep-dive on the habits -to see, for instance, whether it´s consumed also for breakfast as the basis of the diet, etc.-

Hope it helps!



Was this answer helpful?
Content Creator
replied on Jun 01, 2020
Bain Consultant | Interviewer for 3 years at Bain |Passionate about coaching |I will make you a case interview Rockstar

I agree with Ian's approach. The only other thing to consider would be if rice is used as an input to any other manufacturing or food production that could increase the total consumption of rice on an annual basis. For example, if they were to produce rice wine or any other product where rice is a key input in the manufacturing process.

It could be appropriate to descope the market sizing at the beginning of the case to adjust for this.


Was this answer helpful?
Ian gave the best answer


Content Creator
BCG | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep
Q&A Upvotes
64 Reviews