A test run of a new air screen processing machine is taking place at PhilRice this weekend. The Rice Terrace Farmers Cooperative (RTFC) processed samples of newly harvested rice and sent them to PhilRice for testing the prototype. The air screen machine was custom designed and built for the Cordillera Heirloom Rice Project. The machine has different sized screens, which will screen off the broken grains; and a fan, which will blow the last bits of chafe and bran dust off the rice. This process will replace the labor-intensive hand winnowing that the farmers have been doing after the dehulling and partial milling.
As the volume of sales increase, we are working hard to make the processing stage less labor intensive. With appropriate technology machines, the rice processing will be more efficient and the quality of the finished product will improve.
The design and building of this machine was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Social Action Committee of the Kamloops United Church in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. For two years, the Kamloops United Church has helped fund the Quality Control Trainings for the Cordillera Heirloom Rice Project. Because of this new processing machine, the rice shipped from the cooperative should need no additional processing. The first rice to pass through this additional processing will be shipped directly to a Fair Trade distributor in Canada for packaging and sale in Canada. Our heartfelt thanks to the Kamloops United Church for making this distribution expansion into Canada possible!