Processing Rice

There is a lot of rice grown in Panama. Today I had the opportunity to visit a rice processing place which I found very interesting. Cedo was looking for hulls to use as bedding for her chickens. They give away the hulls if they have them so you only need to show up with some empty sacks and ask.


We headed off towards San Pablo, and pulled up here at the front of this place. I’m not sure what was going on on the left. There were a couple guys talking to someone at a window, and another guy washing cars our front. He told us that we needed to go ask behind where the white trucks were parked. The white trucks were in front of a large warehouse space  where men were loading pallets of bags of rice on to the trucks. There were also large sacks of rice on other pallets inside.


This is another warehouse space just to the right of the white trucks in the earlier photo.

The guy near the trucks directed us upstairs to an office above the trucks. This man came downstairs with us and found another guy who hopped in the car to direct us to where the hulls could be found. We drove around to the back of the big elevators. There were piles of something on the ground that I thought might be hulls but he said no, it’s only basura (trash) But it is sold for fertilizer, or perhaps as something used to make fertilizer (he was talking fast so I didn’t catch everything he said). On the other side of the road were other piles covered with black plastic, which I believe he said were piles of rice drying.

It was a beautiful day and the huge elevators looked impressive against the blue sky.

We stopped just past the elevators in a spot that looked like the inner workings of the elevators.

The worker there filled our sacks with hulls and helped us load them in the car. Then we headed back towards the front, completing our circle around the elevators.

This all was a surprise for me. I thought we were only going to pull up to somewhere and get hulls, not get to see the whole grain processing plant! I’m glad I had my camera with me so I could share this much. If the chicken raising business continues at Cedo’s there will be a need for more hulls, and if I play my cards right I will probably have an opportunity to see this place again. Next time I will go better prepared to ask more questions and have my camera in hand so I can have a better understanding of how they process the rice.


About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
This entry was posted in Exploring the Area, food, Panama and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Processing Rice

  1. 4sarge says:

    Curiosity ? Is the Rice Dried by Solar Only or like in the Midwest (Corn) do they use Dryers powered by fuel ?


    • The three black machines beside the elevator, the middle one had a fire in it and I was told it was to dry the rice, so that suggests some sort of fuel. The smaller buildings that I was told were to dry rice, I don’t know what was going on inside. I know individuals put rice out in the sun on a tarp, and I’ve seen coffee places with huge cement spaces for drying coffee beans. I didn’t see anything like this there though so I have a feeling it’s partially dried, if not fully dried using fuel.


  2. Hugo says:

    Thanks for the photos, my family back in Iowa, sells and installs grain bins, dryers, and the elevators. Was able to recognize several different manufacturers products.


  3. madelyn says:

    I recently heard there were some farming issues causing Panama’s Rice Farmers to lose money growing their rice crops. Therefore, they were having to cut back on their production causing an actual rice shortage. Because of the shortage, Rice Production Plants were actually limiting the lbs. of each purchase to 500. Can you confirm this info?


    • No sorry, I don’t know about this. I do know that there are price controls in place (rice being one of the products) which were good for consumers but not so much for producers. Later they were supposed to be doing something to help out the producers. Unfortunately in my little retirement world I don’t keep up with the news very much.


    • Hugo says:

      If you remember the last election, the winning President won, by putting a price limit on price of some of the food, that sounds nice, a lot of votes were received because of this, however, coming from a farming family, with other prices increasing, and your selling price limited, well, either continue farming at a loss, or grow other products.


      • Yes, exactly. It was hurting the farmers and the small shops who couldn’t make up the difference with other products. They were supposed to be making some changes to address this but I’m not sure how it all came out.


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