Women who are into rice processing in the South-South part of Nigeria have been introduced to a rice parboiling technology.
The new technique is about the use of modern “false bottom” parboiling technology to avert poor quality of rice, reduce wastages and save time.
The three-day workshop was organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) in Calabar.
A director in the ministry in Cross River State, Iwara Edet, said the programme came about because of the challenges of rice processing in the country.
This, he said, had affected the export of the grain, adding “If you go to our rice mills you would see poor quality rice, wastage and lack of uniform coloured grains, which is as a result of poor parboiling. He said this technology would help to end all that.
The training was not exactly a classroom exercise as it was conducted in the field. The participants were encouraged to take what they learnt to their respective states, practise it in their communities and teach others.
Speaking to journalists, one of the participants, Mrs Beauty Miller from Bayelsa State, commended the training for giving them the knowledge to produce good rice.
She said that before now they just washed rice and parboiled, but there were lots of errors, which included bad odour, the colours were not uniformed, while a lot of grains were wasted.
The commissioner for agriculture in the state, Mr Okon Owuna, represented by Mr Bassey Edet, programme manager Agricultural Development Project (ADP), said farmers should not just think of subsistence but how to make profits and live a better life. He commended the technology and said the nature of the end product of the farmer mattered a lot.
Dr Fatima Aliyu, an official of the FMARD, represented by Mr Samaila Shiko, an assistant chief agricultural officer, said rice was an important staple food consumed by every household in Nigeria on a daily basis.
He said the challenge of poor quality of milled rice in Nigeria and the need to make it internationally competitive were the reasons they organised the training.