Monday, January 25, 2016

Let's Cut Down Postharvest Loss in Rice


Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid  738 DZRB AM with Ms Grace Velasco 
8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday

In observance of World Food Day October 16, 2015
The official ceremony will commemorate FAO’s 70the Anniversary and address the theme for World Food Day 2015, “Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty”, and how this links with the UN theme for Expo 2015, “The Zero Hunger Challenge · United for a sustainable world”. (The 2014 Theme: Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth)

Highlights of the ceremony will include the official presentation of the Milan Charter to the UN Secretary-General, a manifesto that engages all citizens in the fight against undernourishment, malnutrition and waste, while promoting equal access to natural resources and sustainability. The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, where Mayors worldwide commit to coordinating international food policies, is another important legacy document that will be presented. In addition to the keynote speakers, the Heads of IFAD and WFP will speak during the ceremony and guests will hear a few words from Pope Francis.*
 
A typical rice threshing scene

We wrote this article in response to queries on how to reduce loss and wastage of rice after it has been harvested until the time it reaches our dining table.

The second aspect is how we can reduce our consumption of rice in the light of recurrent production shortage, and increasing price without necessarily depriving ourselves of energy and nutrients.

Rice is lost in three stages.
1. Field loss in production mainly to pest and force majeure runs up to 50 percent of potential harvest. In many cases, it is total crop failure.

2. Gains in rice production may be negated by huge postharvest loss mainly due to lack of facilities and improper processing. Postharvest loss ranges from 10 to 37 percent of total harvest. If we can only reduce Postharvest loss to the low level of 10 percent, we would be self-siufficient in rice. Philippine rice importation in 2014 was 1.2 million metric tons worth at least one-half billion dollars.

3. Nutritional loss incurred during food preparation, cooking and poor eating habits is likewise high (no quantified figure but significant).

How can we reduce postharvest loss?
Postharvest loss can be reduced during the following activities:

1. Threshing - Use improved thresher, thresh on time and do not plant easy-shattering varieties.

2. Drying - Sundry properly, use mechanical dryers is sun drying is not feasible.

3. Milling - Use mill types/model with high milling recovery. Mill grains, which are properly dried. Do not mix different varieties.

4. Handling and transport - Use good sacks, transport properly and on time.

5. Storage - Keep pest away and moisture low. Store properly and dispose on time.

Rice Weevil (Sitophilus oryza)

Development of Substitutes to Reduce Pressure on Rice
Low production together with devaluation of our peso and spiraling world market price of the commodity have caused the price of rice to shoot up to as much as 100 percent in the last five years, and it is going to increase further. This view leads us to believe that we can institute or strengthen agricultural reforms and programs. One area to focus our attention is the development of rice substitutes such as other cereals, rootcrops, and legumes.

Aside from direct substitution, the increase in the uptake of fruits and vegetables, meat and fish would lead to a reduction in rice consumption, not to mention its valuable contribution to nutrition, thus the improvement of health.

Corn as a whole tops all rice substitutes, other than the fact that 20 percent (14 million) of our population depends on corn as staple.

In urban areas the most popular rice substitutes are noodle products, followed by pandesal and other wheat products. In rural areas, sweet potato (Ipomea batatas) and cassava (Manihot esculenta) top the list of rootcrops.

Among the legumes, mungo (Phaseolus radiatus) is best known. Generally, consumers of these products are unaware that they are doing a favor to the rice industry, particular during the lean months.

The development of these substitute products on the part of the farmers is beneficial. It will definitely boost diversified farming, and consequently income on the farni4 A program based on this alternative is definitely necessary both in the short and long term, particularly if the focus is the development of indigenous products.

Nature's gleaners.  
With farm animals and fowls around there's little waste on the farm. In fact, what is considered as waste becomes profit. 

Here are some facts about rice to consider:
1. Per capita consumption of rice is from 95 to 130, Metro Manila and Ilocos Region, respectively. National average is close to 100 kg per person.

2. Daily calorie supply per capita is 2,357. Rice supplies 38% of it.

3. With a total of rice eating Filipinos of 87 million, our total rice requirement is 13 million MT. Today's production is less than 12 million MT.

4. Our total rice area is shrinking, even as land use policy regulates non-agricultural land use, such as settlements and industry.

5. Farmlands are becoming marginal due to poor management.

International Year of Soils 2015, Day of celebration: December 5
"We now have adequate platforms to raise awareness on the importance of healthy soils and to advocate for sustainable soil management. Let us use them." Jose Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General.


6. Agrarian program, since it was promulgated 50 years ago, remains a social and political issue, instead of being a catalyst of growth and development.

Quaintness of harvestime time.  Paintings by Fernando Amorsolo (lefdt), and Cesar Buenaventura

7. Farming remains in the hands of farmers who are on the average 58 years old, with low formal education, and with very little personal savings.

8. There are less and less students taking up agriculture. Not even 10 percent of agriculture graduates go into farming.

9. There is need to define clearly our agricultural policy on rice self-sufficiency. In the seventies and eighties, the Philippines became one of the world's exporters of rice, as a result of a successful food production program. We were also self-sufficient in most basic food items.

10. Investment in agriculture is very low, priority is in industry. It should be the other way around, as many countries realized lately.~

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* International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, 17 October
2015 Theme:  Building a sustainable future: Coming together to end poverty and discrimination

"On this day we recommit to think, decide and act together against extreme poverty -- and plan for a world where no-one is left behind. Our aim must be prosperity for all, not just a few."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been observed every year since 1993,  to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries.
This year, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty holds particular significance because it will be the first observance following the formal adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Within this new development framework, designed to replace and carry forward the aims of the Millennium Development Goals, all countries committed to “ending poverty in all its forms and dimensions.”

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