Rice millers demand soft loans to modernise
Millers can increase rice parboiling by 8 lakh tonnes and rice bran oil production by 15 lakh tonnes a year with implementation of the modern parboiling technology developed by Bangladesh Rice Research Institute in collaboration with the German aid agency GIZ .
Almost 70 percent of fuel potential from rice husk is wasted in the traditional method of parboiling, speakers said at a discussion yesterday.
The introduction of the new fuel-efficient parboiling system can easily halve the use of husk as fuel, and produce rice bran oil from the savings, said Taposh Kumar, additional secretary of the power and energy ministry as the chief guest.
Small and medium level rice producers are unable to introduce auto-milling because of fund shortage, said Md Abdul Aziz, a leading rice producer in the north.
The new method can boost production capacity nearly 10 times, according industry estimates.
Currently total 17000 rice mills including 450 automatic, around 1500 semi automatic, and the traditional rest produce 1 lakh to 1.25 lakh tonnes of parboiled rice every year.
GIZ and the rice millers of Ishwardi jointly organised the discussion on government support for disseminating the improved parboiling system at Ishwardi Sugarcane Research Institute yesterday.
“Introducing automation is too costly for the small and medium millers,” said Abdul Aziz, also the secretary of Ishwardi rice miller owners' group. He demanded soft loans from banks to assist millers automate.
Bank officials should widen their loan disbursement services among the small and medium millers of the zone to increase production, said Md Masum Patwary, general manager of Bangladesh bank.
“Bangladesh Bank is ready to assist the commercial banks in providing SME loans. The new system will create jobs and scope for female employment, which is why the central bank is encouraging it,” Patwary said. So far, GIZ has helped set up at least 50 such auto mills in parts of the country, said Al Mudabbir Bin Anam, component manager for energy efficiency at GIZ.
Traditional boilers are accident-prone, costly and fuel-inefficient as compared to the newer method, which is also more environment friendly, according to GIZ.