Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bangladesh: First 5-ton flatbed dryer installed

Drying remains a key problem for farmers and other stakeholders in the rice postharvest chain in Bangladesh. To help overcome the problem, which is worst during the boro and aus (wet) harvest, a flatbed dryer was set up in the Jessore hub.

The establishment of the flatbed dryer was made possible through an agreement made in December 2012 between Ali Seed Farm and the Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) in Bangladesh, under its postharvest component.

A team started work at the premises of the Ali Seed Farm at Rupdia, Jessore, in March 2013 and completed installation and a test-run of new flatbed dryer on the last week of May. The team was composed of Debashish Chanda, senior specialist for postharvest and business model development, CSISA-BD; Alfred Schmidley, scientist, IRRI; and Lito Diestro, a dryer manufacturer from the Philippines

The new 5-ton flatbed dryer with a modified rice hull furnace is a good and affordable mechanical drying system that offers a practical solution for recovering more paddy and more value from farmers’ rice harvests.

Before the mechanical dryer was installed, the owner of the farm had to dry large volumes of seed on the drying floor and had to depend on sunlight. In just the last year, he lost about 400 tons of paddy seed because of rainy weather. He now says that, al though the cost of operation from the flatbed dryer is about the same as when he was drying seeds on the floor, he would be happy to pay even more for it.

Mechanical drying services will benefit farmers, processors, and trade intermediaries by recovering more of farmers’ harvests and by adding value to paddy. Flatbed dryers can also potentially be used to dry maize, soybean, and other crops.

Expansion of the current enterprise will not only expand contract drying services for a diverse customer base in the postharvest rice chain but will also allow the enterprise to access potential opportunities for drying other types of crop.

In a seminar held on 25 July 2013 at the IRRI Bangladesh Office, Dr. Chanda introduced this new business model, with emphasis on the fact that the 5-ton flatbed dryer is the first of its kind installed in Bangladesh and is running and benefiting the owner.

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