By Chayan Kumer Saha, Professor, Bangladesh Agricultural University; and Principal Investigator, drying component, USAID Postharvest Loss Reduction Innovation Lab (PHLIL), Bangladesh
Paddy drying is often a problem in Bangladesh due to rain and cloudy weather in summer, and fog and short day in winter. High moisture promotes the development of insects and molds that are harmful to the paddy. In addition, farmers cannot store paddy for long time due to lack of proper on-farm drying technologies at affordable cost. The estimated loss from cutting through storage is 14% (Bala et al., 2010).
The Feed the Future Postharvest Loss Reduction Innovation Lab (PHLIL) – Bangladesh component, funded by the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss, University of Illinois, and USAID, USA, has taken initiatives to reduce the loss through better practices in drying and storage. This four-year research project has given the scope to identify, adapt and extension of improved paddy drying technologies in Bangladesh to find a better alternative of sun drying.
We identified a low-cost dryer (STR) design, that has potential application in Bangladesh. This dryer has three basic components: an axial fan, a coal stove, and a drying bin. The drying bin is very simple, can hold up to half a ton of grain, and can be made from two bamboo mat or metal screen fabricated cylinders. External heat is produced by burning rice husk briquette, and an axial fan blows this hot air through the grain for drying.
The experimental result from Boro (April-May 2015) season was presented in the First International Congress on Postharvest Loss Prevention in Rome on October 2015. The results showed that 450 kg of grain could be dried uniformly to 10.7% from 21.6% in less than 4 hours. We are also experimenting this STR dryer in Aman season (November-December 2015) and found that half a ton (500kg) of paddy could be dried from 22 % to 12% moisture content in a maximum of 6 hours, which could not be done even in 3 days of traditional sun drying. This STR dryer will be piloted and demonstrated next year in the farmers’ fields and the farmers and small traders will be trained on best management practices for the dryer. Entrepreneurship will be developed to provide drying service in custom hiring basis at every farmer and small trader level. Extension agencies and NGOs are engaged in this process. The target to reduce postharvest loss will be fulfilled partly by introducing this appropriate drying technology.
Bala, B. K., Haque, M. A., Hossain, M. A. and Majumdar, S. (2010). Postharvest loss and technical efficiency of rice, wheat and maize production systems: Assessment and measures for strengthening food security. Final Report CF no. 6/08, National Food Policy Capacity Strengthening Programme (NFPCSP), Bangladesh.
The blog entries in this #PreventPHL series are by students and members of the PHL Prevention community of practice. The opinions expressed are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the ADM Institute. In addition, none of the statements should be considered an endorsement of any person, product, or technique by the ADM Institute.