Kaltume is a rice and peanut processor and a primary school teacher who lives in Katagum, Bauchi State, Nigeria. She has engaged in rice parboiling as her business before the WAY project but did not know how to improve the quality of her products and processes. She processed rice and groundnuts in small quantities. Her rice was always called local rice in the market because it was broken, sometimes burnt. To produce local rice, it needed large volumes of water and quantities of firewood.
“One thing I have not been able to understand is the unpleasant odour that was smelt during the parboiling process. I have been teaching women in the Islamic school for over eighteen years now but never knew I needed to learn anything about parboiling rice,” Kaltume said.
Kaltume and other women in her community were selected to attend a 2-day parboiling training session. They were introduced to a metal perforated sieve called the False Bottom Lid Technology which prevents paddy rice from having direct contact with water. With just a little water in the bottom of the pot (under the sieve), the perforated flat cover (sieve) then allows the release of steam that enables the rice to be evenly parboiled. Because the grains of rice sit above the water, there is no bad smell created.
“I was only concerned about how to package rice and sell. But then when we commenced the training on day one and we were told to winnow the paddy first then wash it, I was surprised, because this was not our usual practice. In fact, as we were washing it, I saw all the stones and dirt which always made our rice to be called ‘local rice’ in the market. On day one of the training, we then soaked the paddy over the night with clean water. The training showed us types of rice and the various parboiling techniques for each type. By day two, the rice only required 30 minutes steaming using a false bottom lid and then put out to dry, rather than the 24 hours it used to take,” Kaltume explained.
Through the WAY project, Kaltume also joined the Savings and Loans group in her community and her group identified her as a Woman Sales Agent (WoSA). As a WoSA, Kaltume creates market linkages for other women doing business in her community. Kaltume’s newfound knowledge as a WOSA made her mobilize other women to advance their business.
“This was a new process for me. Now in my community, the women are meeting to agree on how we can teach other women to process rice using this new method so we can stand out with our own quality of rice in the market. I want people to say they are looking for Liman Katagum Women’s Rice. I personally have given more energy to my rice processing with what I have learned. My future plan is to build my house with some shops outside no matter how small. I am so proud of the outcome of our rice with less broken and burned grains, and it no longer smells. It also does not require a large amount of firewood and water for steaming anymore allowing me to save half of the wood I would have bought. In fact, I see this new rice parboiling method as a better business opportunity for me,” Kaltume proudly said.