Japanese government agency, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), says it has trained 17,519 Nigerians in improved parboiling technology so as to boost rice production in the country.
Mrs Salamatu Babatunzwang, the Communication Officer of JICA, said this in Abuja.
She said that the training would be an added advantage to ongoing efforts to improve rice production in the country.
JICA had earlier distributed improved parboiling technology equipment to 29 states across the country.
Babatunzwang said that the agency carried out the training, in collaboration with other partners, so as to upgrade the farmers’ skills in modern rice processing techniques.
She noted that project was executed in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
She said that the main goal of the project was to improve the capacity of small-scale rice processors to produce quality rice.
Babatunzwang disclosed that the initiative was developed under JICA’s technical cooperation project known as Rice Post Harvest Processing and Marketing Pilot Project and executed in Niger and Nasarawa states.
She noted that the initiative had begun to yield good results.
“This technology was introduced in the two pilot states of Niger and Nasarawa between 2011 and 2016 to teach local farmers ways of boosting the nutritional value of rice, while changing its texture,’’ she said.
Babatunzwang said that parboiled rice, also known as “converted rice’’, was the rice that had been partially boiled in the husk.
“The three basic steps of parboiling are soaking, steaming and drying; these steps also make rice easier to process by hand, while boosting its nutritional profile and changing its texture,’’ she said.
She added that the practice had recorded tremendous success in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Guinea, South Africa, Italy, Spain, Thailand, Switzerland, the U.S. and France.