PhilMech bares list of ‘Agrinnovation’ technologies ready for mass adoption

June 18, 2016 1:59 am 

By Cielito M. Reganit

MANILA, June 17 (PNA) — The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) bared on Friday seven technologies for different agricultural commodities and two technologies specifically for soybeans that it has developed in the past three to four years that are now ready for mass adoption by farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs.

PhilMech Executive Director Rex Bingabing said these technologies were developed consistent with the government’s objective of increasing food production and food security as well as reducing the cost of production to enhance global competitiveness of Philippine agriculture.

The seven farm machineries are the Cassava Digger; Cassava Belt Dryer; Pectin Extraction System for Mango Peel; Village-level Coco Water Pasteurizer; Compact Corn Mill; Brown Rice Huller; and Root Crop Washer.

Meanwhile, the two sets of technologies for soybeans consist of one set of technology for postharvest and another set for processing soybeans into value added products like curd, soymilk and taho.

“These technologies were the product of Agrinnovation, an approach we instituted in PhilMech wherein creative farming technologies are developed and made ready for adoption in only 18 months instead of the usual 3-6 years. We did this by innovating and improving existing technologies for local adoption,” Bingabing said.

He said the novel approach starts with identifying existing domestic and imported machinery that are very useful to local agriculture and which could be modified or retro-fitted to make them more suitable to country conditions.

“A supply chain analysis on local crops was also undertaken by PhilMech in order for us to better identify which technologies are needed,” Bingabing said.

He said that one of the crucial advantages of these new farm machineries is that they can all be manufactured locally and thus are cheaper than imported models.

“The manufacture of these technologies would also directly benefit the local metal fabrication industry once demands for the machines increase in the following years,” he said as he stressed on PhilMech’s strong advocacy for the local manufacture of farm machineries.

“The aforementioned technologies were developed with the strong collaboration between PhilMech and several public and private institutions to accelerate the manufacturing process,” Bingabing said.

The outgoing PhilMech chief said the technologies were designed to address production problems of specific commodities.

PhilMech developed the Cassava Digger to allow farmers to harvest cassava roots faster and more efficiently while minimizing crop damage during harvesting.

It is attached to a tractor and reduces the labor requirement from 20 to only six per hectare and has a harvesting capacity of 1.8 hectares to three hectares of cassava field per day.

“With the use of this technology, production losses can be trimmed down from a high of 10 percent to only two percent,” Bingabing said.

The Cassava Belt Dryer, which is equipped with a biomass furnace, allows farmers to dry granulated cassava in only four hours as compared to one to two days when using the traditional sun drying method.

Meanwhile, the use of the Pectin Extraction Machine for mango peels would reduce the importation of pectin – an essential component in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical and food processing industries among others.

He noted that the Philippines imports all of its pectin requirements and the development of the technology would reduce our dependence on importation without sacrificing quality.

“Studies conducted by PhilMech showed that pectin extracted from mango peels have the same qualities as that of imported pectin which is mostly extracted from apple pomace and citrus peelings,” Bingabing said.

The Village-level Coco Water Pasteurizer, on the other hand, is suitable in copra-producing regions where coconut water are mostly thrown away due to the lack of processing technologies.

“This system now allows coconut farmers to immediately process and package newly-harvested coco water for extended shelf life,” he said.

The machine is equipped with a touch screen programmable logic control system for easy monitoring of pasteurization and chilling temperatures as well as flow rate.

It has an output capacity of 500 liters of coco water per day or approximately 1,600 bottles at 300 ml. per bottle.

In the meantime, the Compact Corn Mill is small enough to be transported by a small utility vehicle to the countryside where there are no corn milling facilities.

It has a capacity of 250 kilos per hour, a recovery rate of 63.32 percent and de-germing efficiency of 91.45 percent.

“One thing particular to this machine is that it also eliminates aflatoxin from newly-harvested corn,” Bingabing noted.

Weighing only 98 kilograms, the Brown Rice Huller (impeller type) can process 98 kgs. of brown rice in an hour.

The technology now allows rice retailers to mill brown rice as needed since brown rice has a limited shelf life of only two months.

The Root Crop Washer, which is now in use at the Benguet AgriPinoy Trading Center, washes all types of root crop and reduces washing time and labor need by more than 50 percent.

Meanwhile, Bingabing said that the two sets of technologies for soya were developed because of the urgent need for processing locally grown soya.

He said that with 99 percent of Philippine soya requirement imported, the Department of Agriculture began identifying areas for local soya production.

“The problem is we lacked the technologies for post-harvest and processing. So we developed them,” he said.

“These technologies are a big boost for the Philippine soya sector. The post-harvest technologies will help reduce post-harvest losses, thus increasing the production of farmers. The Soybean Processing System that PhilMech developed would be very viable for entrepreneurs because of its reasonable investment requirement and the high quality of products the system produces,” Bingabing said.

Several technologies being developed by PhilMech are also in the pipeline.

These are the Fluidized Bed Dryer, GPS-Guided Self-Driving Tractor, Bio-control Agents for Fruits, Hand Tractor-driven Riding Type Rice Transplanter and Mini Combine Harvester; Sugarcane Harvester and Coffee Bean Color Sorter.

He said that the aforementioned technologies are in different stages of pilot testing and prototype development.

“We are continuing the field testing of these technologies which we aim for mass production if proven feasible. We are aiming to transform the future of Philippine agriculture by fast-tracking the conduct of research and development toward mass commercialization and adoption of suitable and affordable technologies for our farmers,” Bingabing said. (PNA)

SCS/CMR

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