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Script 88.11

Notes to broadcasters

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Parboiling is a rice processing technique that involves soaking paddy overnight, followed by a short period of steaming. Parboiling increases the quantity and quality of rice because it reduces the number of broken grains at milling. It creates physical and chemical changes in the grain that make it more nutritious and easier to sell and cook.
Even though parboiling is a traditional practice in many parts of West Africa, it has recently become a new income generating activity that appeals to rural women in rice growing areas. With this increased interest, it’s important that farmers learn about improved parboiling techniques. For example, farmers must pay close attention to cleaning and washing the rice before boiling and steaming. Also, in traditional methods, the lower layers of the paddy are often left soaking in the water during steaming, which results in reduced quality and reduced nutritional value. The improved method ensures that the rice stays above the water during steaming with the use of a parboiler (shown below).

This script is a mini-drama which talks about the benefits of parboiling rice. Two ways to use this script are by simply adapting this drama for your audience or using it as inspiration to produce your own mini-drama on rice production and processing in your area.

Script

Characters

Ayaba:Woman farmer
Bléoun:Woman farmer
Zomonnon: Miller

Program signature tune

PPRESENTER:
Parboiled rice is rice that has been steamed before milling. It is slightly yellowish in colour, and attractive. Compared to white rice, parboiled rice results in more complete grains during milling. Fewer grains of parboiled rice break during milling. Parboiled rice also swells more when you cook it, compared to white rice. Because it is already clean and easy to cook, food sellers and restaurant owners increasingly prefer parboiled rice. But, how do we obtain parboiled rice? This is what Ayaba, Bléoun and Zomonnon are going to show us in this radio drama. Let’s listen and find out.

Sound of milling machine. Sound fades out as voices of two women fades in.

BLÉOUN:
(Irritated) Zomonnon! I have caught you today! For your friends, you will nicely mill the paddy. I always bring you my paddy, but you never mill it well. Look how nicely you have milled Ayaba’s paddy − it has fewer broken grains.

ZOMONNON:
(Irritated) I have nothing to do with that. It’s your own fault. You’d better ask Ayaba why her rice does not produce so many broken grains at milling like yours.

AYABA:
Bléoun, don’t you parboil your rice before bringing it for milling?

BLÉOUN:
(Confused)Parboil my rice? What do you mean?

ZOMONNON:
This is what you should have asked before accusing me. With parboiling, there are fewer broken grains at milling. And it’s easier to mill because it doesn’t contain stones, empty grains and other impurities.

BLÉOUN:
Tell me, Ayaba. What is this all about?

AYABA:
Parboiling is the process where you wash, soak and steam rice before milling. It makes the grains harder so they break less at milling. And because you wash the paddy two or three times, you get rid of all the stones and empty grains. So the parboiled rice is easier to mill, prepare and cook.

BLÉOUN:
This is new stuff! I must confess I don’t know anything about it.

AYABA:
Really? It is quite common now. There are even some women’s groups that are doing it as a business.

BLÉOUN:
Tell me more. Do you parboil your paddy yourself, or do you rely on those women for that?

AYABA:
(Proudly)I do it myself.

BLÉOUN:
(In a pleading tone)Then, can you show me how parboiling is done, please?

AYABA:
Fine! I am going to start cleaning my rice tomorrow. You can come and see how it is done.

BLÉOUN:
(Happily) Thank you. Early in the morning, I will be at your house.

End of the first part

Sounds made by domestic animals

Sounds of winnowing and sorting paddy…fade and hold under voices.

AYABA:
Hello Bléoun! You are just in time. I am just now cleaning the rice. It’s important to remove all the sand, dust and immature grains before parboiling rice.

BLÉOUN:
I usually just wash my rice by rinsing it with some water.

AYABA:
No, you have to clean it more thoroughly if you are going to parboil. I pour the paddy into a big container, stir it with a clean stick, and wash it by hand until all the light particles float to the surface of the water. Then, I remove the floating particles.

BLÉOUN:
Is that all?

AYABA:
No. I do it again. I drain off the remaining water. Then I pour some clean water over the paddy to cover it, wash it again, and remove all the floating particles. I repeat this process several times until there are no more floating particles at the surface of the water.

BLÉOUN:
Wow, that’s the cleanest paddy I’ve ever seen!

AYABA:
That’s the idea. I pour the clean paddy in this big cooking pot, and then add water to fill the pot. As you can see, this pot can hold a lot of water…up to forty liters. Can you help me put it on the fire?

Sounds of women moving the pot

Musical break

Sound of stirring in cooking pot

AYABA:
We’re still waiting for the water in the pot with the rice to heat up. When the water starts heating, just dip your finger in the water to check if it is hot enough.

BLÉOUN:
Aïe! The water is really hot.

AYABA:
Now, we can remove the pot from the fire.

BLÉOUN:
Shouldn’t we wait for the water to boil?

AYABA:
No, otherwise we will have completely cooked rice.

BLÉOUN:
I see! What is the next step?

AYABA:
Let’s leave the paddy submerged in the water to cool down overnight. Come back in the morning and we’ll finish the parboiling process.

End of the second part

Musical break

Sound of rooster crowing

AYABA:
Good morning, Bléoun…did you sleep well?

BLÉOUN:
Yes, very well. And you?

AYABA:
Very well, thank you. You remember that yesterday we cleaned the rice. Then we put the paddy in very hot water and left it overnight. Now that the water in the pot has cooled down, it’s time to use this parboiler to steam the soaked paddy.

BLÉOUN:
The parboiler looks like a big bucket with holes in the bottom.

AYABA:
Yes.The steam comes up through those holes to steam the rice.

BLÉOUN:
How is it done?

Sound of water being poured

AYABA:
First, let’s pour a small amount of water in the cooking pot…but don’t fill it up! The water in the pot should not touch the bottom of the parboiler.

BLÉOUN:
Why shouldn’t the water in the pot touch the parboiler?

AYABA:
If the water touches the bottom of the parboiler, water will come through the holes and part of the paddy will be soaked.

BLÉOUN:
But, what should I do? I don’t have a parboiler!

AYABA:
Some women use wood and a jute bag. They put some water in the bottom of the pot and then they put wooden sticks in the pot. On top of the sticks, they put a jute bag. On top of the bag they put the paddy! That’s a clever way to avoid the rice being soaked in the water during steaming.

BLÉOUN:
And it’s easy to get some sticks and a jute bag. Can I put the rice in the parboiler now?

AYABA:
Yes, but leave a small space above the paddy to allow it to swell. Before putting on the lid, cover the paddy with a raffia bag. Then, we close the space between the pot and the parboiler with a piece of cloth so the steam won’t escape from the pot. It is the steam that will heat the paddy.

BLÉOUN:
So, how long do we leave it on the fire?

AYABA:
For about fifteen to twenty minutes, depending on how much rice you have. You have to judge this for yourself. Once you see the steam coming through the paddy, check it. When the husks of most grains have burst open, the rice has steamed long enough.

BLÉOUN:
So you wait until the paddy has burst open. And then remove the paddy from the parboiler?

AYABA:
Yes, but this is not the end of it. Then you have to dry it on a tarpaulin or on a clean cemented surface. Any clean surface will do. But don’t dry paddy for long hours under the sun because the grains can crack.

BLÉOUN:
Where should we dry it then?

AYABA:
The parboiled paddy should be dried on a tarpaulin under shade. And you should stir from time to time

BLÉOUN:
How do we know that the paddy is dry and ready for milling?

AYABA:
To test the moisture content of the paddy, you take a small quantity in your hand and rub it between your fingers. If the bran comes off, it means that the rice is dry. Or, use your teeth to bite a grain. If it is really dry, it will crack under your teeth. If it is not, it will produce a thud noise, meaning that it is not ready for milling.

End of the third part

PRESENTER:
That is the end of our radio drama on the improved method for parboiling rice. It is quite a simple process. The advantages of parboiling are that fewer grains break and more nutrients stay in the rice. Also, parboiled rice fetches more money at the market.

Dear listeners, thank you for your attention! If you wish to have a copy of the video on the improved method for parboiling rice, please contact me at this station[the broadcaster should give a mobile number or the number of the radio station. Please see notes below for information about obtaining rice videos from the Africa Rice Center].

Acknowledgements

Contributed by: Felix S. Houinsou, Rural Radio Consultant/Africa Rice Center (WARDA), Radio Immaculée Conception, Benin, a Farm Radio International broadcasting partner.

Reviewed by: Paul Van Mele, Program Leader, Learning and Innovation Systems / Africa Rice Center (WARDA)

Thanks to:

The Government of Japan for its support for research on rice quality and processing.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and USAID for supporting the rice radio scripts and for translating the rice videos into local languag

Information Sources

If you would like to receive videos about different rice technologies, please contact Jonas Wanvoeke at the Africa Rice Center (j.wanvoeke@cgiar.org; +229 21 35 01 88; 01 BP 2031, Cotonou, Benin). For a list of rice videos available please see: www.warda.org/warda/guide-video.asp