Nelly Bassily | August 15, 2011
Rice husks (or hulls) account for about 20 percent of rice by weight. In rice-growing regions, rice husks are abundantly available, to the extent that disposing of rice husks can become an environmental problem. They decompose slowly, and are often thrown away as waste. This story is a good example of how to reduce fuel costs while taking advantage of a resource that would otherwise be wasted.
Parboiling rice is a tradition in West Africa. This rice processing technique 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.
For more information on rice husks and their potential uses, visit:
Wikipedia has some general information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rice_hulls
Earlier this year, Farm Radio Weekly produced a short series on energy, with two stories on fuel-efficient cookstoves. Refer to the Notes to broadcasters on cookstoves here: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2011/06/13/notes-to-broadcasters-on-cookstoves/
The stories on cookstoves can be accessed here:
–Uganda: Stoves save fuel and forests (FRW 159, June 2011)
–Southern Sudan: Fuel-efficient stoves bring benefits (FRW 159, June 2011)
In July 2009, Farm Radio International produced a script from Benin about parboiling rice:
–Parboiled rice is easy to mill, cook, and sell (Package 88, Script 11)
You may also be interested in adapting and using this script on rice:
–Growing and processing top quality rice will get you top money (Package 89, Script 8 )
The topic of cookstoves would make an engaging rural radio program, as it touches so many people’s lives. As it is most often women who do the cooking, make sure you include women in the program, through interviews and features. The adoption of new and efficient cookstoves has been hindered in some regions because those responsible for cooking were not involved in decisions and information sharing.
Try to find women who use different types of cookstoves, whether they are fuelled by gas, charcoal or firewood, and ask why the women use that type. Find out if they have experimented with other types of stoves or fuels. Ask them what are the most important factors they consider when choosing a cookstove. You could even set up an experiment by asking one or more women to try a more efficient cookstove for a week, and then report their impressions on your program.