A total of 3,500 women from six local government areas on the banks of River Hadejia in Jigawa State have received training on techniques of parboiling paddy rice.
The training involved using locally made implements for processing paddy into clean, polished and unbroken rice.
The women underwent the four-day training facilitated by Atafi Agro- Merchandise Service Limited, Hadejia, in collaboration with a German development partner, GIZ Cari (Geselischaft lur International Zusammenarbeit West African Rice).
The training, targets 6,000 women, is aimed at empowering individual women to process paddy in their homes.
After the training, each of the women can process as much as two bags of 100 kg paddy per day.
The modern technique requires only the usual pot, the size of which depends on the quantity, a tarpaulin, sieve, a clean piece of cloth for drying, and false bottom, which is the only imported implement.
The false bottom, which is now replicated locally, is the implement that makes the difference in the entire process as it is what controls the regulating process to give the required temperature for steaming.
Unlike in the traditional method where the paddy is parboiled in water, with this method, it is processed through steaming, which makes it easy to be milled.
Hajiya Salamatu from Ganuwar Kuka in Auyo Local Government Area is a beneficiary of the training and she shared her experience thus: “We were introduced to modern and simple techniques for paddy rice processing. This has improved our economic status as our product is now hot cake in the market.’’
Explaining the procedure in processing the paddy rice under the new technique, Salamatu who is a women leader, said, “The first step is to clean the paddy by winnowing out all the debris, washing it very clean, drying it and then steaming it by using your false bottom.”
She added that the false bottom was a small implement that would be placed at the bottom of the pot with small quantity of water under, which helped in steaming the paddy rice.
“It is then dried off half way in the sun and under the shade before it is finally taken for milling,” she explained.
She said in the market their product is not only the best but enjoys higher price than those locally processed.
Jummai Mohammed, another woman at the training, said she could process as much as a bag of 100kg in a day because she had become more conversant with the entire process and that it did not require western education to master.
The Director and Acting Secretary of Atafi Agro-Merchandise Service Ltd, Mohammed Auwal, said his company, in collaboration with GIZ Cari, organised the training on nutrition and parboiling for the women, saying 3,500 participants had already been trained and that plan was underway to train another set of 2,500.