On August 17, 2009, two custom-designed millings machines, a dehuller-grain separator and a micro mill, were donated to the heirloom rice producers in Kalinga province.
The donation was made possible through the leadership and support of the Philippine Department of Agriculture, its regional director Cesar Rodriquez (DA-CAR-RFU), and in partnership with RICE, Inc. The machines were custom designed by engineers at PhilRice, after extensive consultation with the farmers, to process the larger grained rice varieties that have a courser stalk and tougher hull than modern hybrid varieties.
The new processing equipment replicates the hand pounded quality that is done traditionally with a mortar and pestle. These laborsaving post-harvest machines are part of the effort to support the continued production of these rare varieties of rice.
Kalinga’s Congressman Manuel Agyao donated space in the Congressional Livelihood Center, Bulanao, Tabuk, Kalinga for housing the machines and the processing area.
After the machines were installed, an indepth training on the operation of the machines was given by Isagani Ramirez, agricultural mechanic from PhilRice, and two agri-technicians from the manufacturer, JHT Micro Enterprises. The Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Training Institute (ATI-CAR) supported the operators’ training. Funding support to RICE, Inc. for the design and purchase of the machines was generously given by students from the UNESCO sponsored OB Montessori School, Greenhills, Manila; and through a Panibagong Paraan 2008 award from the Peace and Equity Foundation, Quezon City..