Drying of paddy grains are one of the most important step before sending them to Rice mill. Drying reduces grain moisture level to a safe benchmark which is suitable for storage. When rice is harvested it consist of 20 – 30% moisture & high moisture in a grain can destroy the entire sample or encourage development of molds, and increase the likelihood of attack from pests.
So , it is very important to dry rice grain within 24 hours after it getting crop from the field . Delays in drying, incomplete drying or ineffective drying will reduce grain quality and result in losses.
There are several methods of drying are being used now a days. While in the majority of the cases are mechanical, in some villages drying is still performed manually.
While observing the process we have seen this kind of exercise starts very early in the morning, almost 3 – 4 a.m. every day, labours are staying inside the mill premises and they worked for 8 hours a day, thus this exercise complete by 12 p.m. Initially after cropping rice grains are getting washed with hot steam inside a rice processing unit which actually help to reduce the inside moisture to a nominal level. Immediately after this process labours are taking the steamed grains in small carrier and going for the Mat drying which is used in small to medium-scale drying where threshed grain are placed on mats, nets, or canvas.
The 1st day labours are used to make a brush on the steamed grains to make it scattered and leave for a day under open sky, it believes that under Fog the grains dried well, and it helps to get proper color of rice seed, the more Fog it gets it became whiter at Machine. Next day Labours are starting the job again with their Comb type instrument to scatter the same & also use their legs so that it can be rolled properly and getting proper sunlight for a day which actually help to dry out the entire moisture from the grains. Thus, every drying process actually took 2 days of time & then send to rice mill for final processing to make fine quality rice.
Photo & Report by: Avishek Das
West Bengal, India – January 2018