The Department of Agriculture (DA) unveiled its new prototype mechanized carrot washer designed to reduce postharvest losses during the washing and drying process.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said the mechanical washer, which is designed by the DA- Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech), is capable of washing 1-2 tons per hour of carrots and 3 tons/hr of potatoes, and reduce the drudgery of traditional washing.
“It can also wash different root crops of any size,” Alcala said during the Highland Vegetable Investment Forum cum Trade Fair at the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center (BAPTC).
Meanwhile, PhilMech Executive Director Rex Bingabing noted that this equipment could help reduce the labor requirements of traditional washing by 80 percent.
“Compared to the traditional washing of carrots, the mechanized washer reduces water consumption because of the control mechanism in the spray nozzles secured along the pressure pipes,” he said.
Bingabing also explained that the cleaning action is through tumbler rotation and spraying of water into the tubers inside the tumbler.
Engr. Donald Mateo of PHilmech developed the carrot washer with main parts consisting of the stainless steel frame, tumbler, cover, washer, inlet conveyor, discharge conveyor and dryer.
“This was created to help reduce postharvest losses by 20 percent,” Mateo said, adding that farmers are able to sell better quality produce.
“This [machine]will enable them to have A-quality end-products since manual washing may damage the root crop and reduce the shelf life of the commodity while at the retail market.
The biggest machine prototype is made of stainless materials and measures 6.5 meters x 1.25 meters x 2 meters. It costs P1 million. The smaller model made of Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) costs P200,000.
BAPTC aims to set up at least 12 machines.