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.
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.