February 13, 2018
In order to upgrade quality of the milled rice produced by small scale rice processors, JICA conducted a technical cooperation project from 2011 to 2016. The project introduced an improved technical package to two existing small scale rice processors, and a modern rice milling machine to a Rice Incubation Plant in Bida, Niger State. One and a half years after, the two processors still produce quality milled rice using the introduced technical package, while the Rice Incubation Plant still produces high quality rice.
Nigeria's Rice Processing and JICA Project
In Nigeria, there are many small scale rice processors and one of their problems is the quality of their milled rice. In general, their rice has darker colour, with broken rice and foreign matters such as stones. In order to solve this issue, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) implemented a technical cooperation project called ‘Rice Post Harvest Processing and Marketing Pilot Project (RIPMAPP)' from 2011 to 2016.
Improved Technical Package
This project suggested a couple of solutions to the small scale rice processors. One of them was to upgrade their processing procedure and adopt an improved technical package appropriate to small scale rice processors.
The package includes (1) the improved parboiling technology using a false bottom to their parboiling equipment, which can produce whiter parboiled rice, (2) a de-stoner for segregation of stones, and (3) a better designed package bags for attraction.
Parboiling activity by one of women groups under Awomana Women's Cooperative in Niger state
During the project period, two innovators namely Awomana Women's Cooperative (a group of small scale parboilers) and a small scale miller from Taimako Rice Millers Association in Niger state adopted this technology package with necessary equipment and trainings. The project also supported the innovators with rice processing tools with a payment scheme.
One and a half years after completion of the project, the innovators have completed the payment and are still processing quality milled rice. Awomana Women's Cooperative processes 1.5 tons of paddy per day, while the small scale miller from Taimako Rice Millers Association processes 0.75 tons. It is noteworthy to see a high demand for quality rice processed by these innovators, showing that consumers appreciate the quality of the rice. Furthermore, they do not only receive patronage from within Niger state, but also from as far as Lagos, Rivers, Plateau and Kaduna states. JICA Nigeria believe that the livelihood of these innovators has also improved as they get additional income from their business and have concluded that this technology package is appropriate to small scale rice processors.
Modern Rice Milling Machine
Another suggestion made by the project was to introduce a modern but small milling machine. The project first established a rice processing incubation center for demonstration purpose in Bida, Niger State, which includes a modern but small rice milling machine, a de-stoner and a generator. The center also has a drying slab and a parboiling area. In addition to the incubation plant, an improved parboiling technology was also introduced. This technology is appropriate for steaming of paddy so as to get whiter milled rice. The project demonstrated modern/improved rice processing methods to the local small scale rice processors in order for them to consider adoption of modern machines.
Modern but small milling machine in the Rice Incubation Plant in Bida
In order to attract processors, it is better to let one of their peers conduct milling with these modern machines as business and practically show the processors that even their peer can conduct business (make money) with modern machines. Thus, in July, 2016, a JICA counterpart, Niger State Agricultural Mechanization Development Authority, leased the plant to one local small company for one year period with Comprehensive on the Job Training (COJT).
The operators from the company have been running the plant for over a year and currently the center processes 2.25 tons of paddies per day and processed over 90 tons for the past one year. The company procured 12 sets of a parboiling pot and a false bottom, and created job opportunities especially to women and youths. The women engaged in parboiling and sorting of milled rice, while the youths engaged in general operation of the mill. We thus found that the operator can produce high quality milled rice, as business, by using a modern milling machine and other processing equipment, and concluded that the COJT was significantly successful.