As part of efforts to empower women with affordable technology in agriculture across the value chains, the FCT FADAMA III Additional Financing and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recently trained 30 local women on rice processing using the FALSE BOTTOM Rice Parboiling technology John Oba, reports.
False Bottom Rice Parboiling Technology introduced by JICA is a system that allows the use of metal perforated sieve which prevents paddy rice from having a direct contact with the vat bottom of the pot. And the perforated plat cover also use to allow the release of steam that could lead to the rice being cooked. The sieve is placed at the bottom of the vat and a giant lid above it, with water in between. The paddy is place on top of the sieve after proper sucking and washing. Once the fire is lit and the water begins to boil, vapour goes upward through the sieve to steam the paddy appropriately.
The technology will enable the women to add value to their rice processing.
The Technology according to the FCT FADAMA III AF coordinator, Mr. Abdullahi Salisu will enhance better processing thereby ensuring value and higher quality for the farmers.
He said the two day training will increase the women earnings through rice processing while promising that plans are on ground to train the women on packaging to enhance competitiveness.
Also speaking at the training in Gwagwalada, Abuja, Secretary, Agriculture and Rural Development Secretariat (ARDS) of the FCT, Hon. Nzekwe Stanley Ifeanyichukwu said everything about agriculture is extension services. According to him, it means getting to the rural farmers and teaching them new techniques in cultivation and processing in all aspects of the agriculture value chains.
“This is a processing technique that can allow heat and steam to parboil the rice and maintain it natural colour and quality.
“Farmers that have bought into it are already enjoying the added value. We selected 30 rural women for this phase because farming techniques can not be a million people march at a time, it starts gradually because we can’t bring 5000 women here at a time, it is a train the trainers’ workshop. And after this, we have extension workers in our communities and council areas that would join the women to expand the training to other women in the rural communities.
“And we are already encouraging the farmers with the new rice seedling that is yielding a minimum of 3.5 metric tons per hectare as against 1.5, 2.5 previously been planted in the past.
Hon. Ifeanyichukwu further stated that the training marks the attainment of yet another significant milestone in the efforts of FCT FADAMA III AF Project and the FCTA towards the development of rice value chain in particular and agriculture in general in the FCT”.
“This technology on improved rice parboiling technology was introduced to Nigeria by JICA.
“The agency in partnership with the ministry, of Agriculture and Rural Development piloted the schemes in two states (Niger and Nasarawa) between 2012 and March 2016, adding that at the end of the pilot training, JICA will extend the technology to all the states of the federation.
“it is in line with this directive that the National Fadama Coordination Office (NFCO) entered into a collaboration with JICA and conducted a Training of Trainers (TOT) for states participating in Fadama III and the FCT and NFCO thereafter mandated all states and the FCT to step down the training to their farmers for adoption,” he said.
He assured that the technology if adopted and properly utilized will reduce processing time, enhance efficiency in energy consumption, reduce wastage and above all improve the general quality of processed rice.
“This will no doubt reduce cost of production, increase output and increase incomes which will ultimately improve living standards of our rural farmers”.
He assured that the ARDS is making concerted efforts towards improving the lot of rural farmers through several interventions such as the sale of agricultural inputs to farmers at subsidized rate of 50% and several other programmes aimed at increasing productivity and ensuring food security in the FCT.
Also speaking at the event, JICA Senior Representative, Hiroshi Kodama said: “The technology has advantages because it is easy, adaptive, ensures better color of rice (white) and higher prices against the conventional prices which the old parboiling method assured”
Mr. Hiroshi said “JICA supported the training with the technology and an expert trainer, while Fadama III AF took care of other logistics”.
He however said JICA commitment does not include the provision of the materials to be used for the women because the materials are cheap and affordable to the women and that since they would be using it as business, the women should shoulder the cost of the materials. He however assured that the women would be empowered after training as their are more than 10,000 adopters of the technology in Nigeria, and that some of these bought the false bottom by themselves.
One of the women, Mrs Helen, said she was part of the first set of women trained and that since she adapted the technology her rice compete favourably with foreign rice as her customers can not differentiate it from foreign rice.