Friday, May 28, 2010

Good quality rice pays off: Highlighting importance of rice postharvest

AfricaRice was invited to participate in a special side event on “Rice post-harvest systems: Saving rice harvest and moving towards better livelihoods,” at the 2nd West & Central Africa Agricultural Science Week and the General Assembly of CORAF/WECARD, 24-28 May 2010, Cotonou, Benin.

AfricaRice experts presented a strategic overview of the Center’s rice research for development activities ranging from rice genetic diversity, seed systems, new breeding direction to the postharvest practices and the quality of rice in West Africa and rice policy and impact research.

It was highlighted that although rice is known to be a hardy crop in terms of withstanding grain deterioration, locally produced rice has not been competitive qualitatively and quantitatively.

Quantitative losses come from bird attacks, lodging, shattering, spillages, incomplete and threshing. Qualitative losses come from the presence of stones, delayed harvest, poor handling after harvest, including stacking, drying, parboiling, milling, packaging, and the presence of mycotoxins.  Improper parboiling can result in more breakages. The processing of rice mixed with stones can damage milling equipment. Additionally, the technical capacity of millers is too low to enable them do a good job. 

Experts emphasized the need for training of farmers and processors in improved processing technology to encourage marketers to properly package their products.