Bangladesh will adopt the multi-commodity solar tunnel dryer (MCSTD) that was modified for use in the Philippines, demonstrating the feasibility of the technology that has been adopted by both farmers and agribusiness companies.
The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), which developed the MCSTD, has entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Center on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP) for the technology transfer of the drying system to Bangladesh until June this year. CIRDAP was represented by its Director General Tevita Boseiwaga in the MOA signing while PhilMech was represented by Genaro Tolentino and Helen Martinez.
“I was inspired with a group of women here in the Philippines selling different products out of fruit and vegetables using the dryer, so we need the technology [MCSTD] to start the project [in Bangladesh],” said Eva Benita Tuzon, director of the Pilot Projects Division of CIRDAP.
“MCSTD is a big help because it is my main drying unit. Hygienic drying of tilapia will not be possible without the MCSTD. I started in this business using MCSTD and it really fits the business because it is functional and practical,” he added.
CIRDAP is an intergovernmental organization of 15 member-states including the Philippines. It is mandated to facilitate the provision of services that will influence policy formation and programs toward rural development and poverty alleviation through CIRDAP’s network.
PhilMech, an agency under the Department of Agricuture, developed the MCSTD as viable alternative to using mechanical dryers and drying under the sun, which is the traditional practice. Drying under the sun exposes food commodities to various elements that can cause contamination or rotting of farm commodities.
The MCSTD is a modified version of the solar tunnel dryer developed by researchers at the Hohenheim University in Germany.
PhilMech is targeting women groups, farmers, fisher folk, and agribusiness companies as adoptors of the MCSTD.
One of the successful adoptors of the MCSTD is Keno Foods Inc. in Bustos, Bulacan, which produces dried tilapia known as “tilapia crunch” using the technology. Keno Food products are sold to majority of Shopwise and Rustan supermarkets, and selected restaurants and fruit stands in Metro Manila.
Victor Mendoza, ownder of Keno Foods, adopted the MCSTD to venture into the processed fish business.
“I was into tilapia growing business before entering the tilapia processing industry. It started when I read in a PhilMech newsletter about the MCSTD. I found out that tilapia can be processed through the technology,” said Mendoza.
The commodities the MCSTD can dry include banana, cassava, small fish, kamias, mushroom, and tomatoes.