Philippines has been recognized as the “Most Outstanding Country” by the Asian Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (AFACI), primarily due to the research and development (R&D) and extension efforts of the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) in cassava production.
AFACI recognized the Philippines for its remarkable contribution and effort in the implementation of its regional cassava project for 2015 called, “Enhancing the Agricultural Mechanization of Crop Production and Postharvest Processing of Cassava.” PhilMech contributed to the project with the agency’s effort spearheaded by Dr. Romualdo Martinez, division chief of agency’s Agricultural Mechanization Division.
AFACI’s cassava projects aim to improve cassava production by mechanization, reduction of postharvest losses and development of postharvest processing technologies, and by establishing a network among Asian countries.
The Philippines is one of eight country partners in the cassava project that includes Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea.
AFACI is an inter-governmental and multi-lateral cooperation body aiming to improve food production, enable sustainable agriculture, and enhance extension services of Asian countries by sharing knowledge and information on agricultural technology.
The other country-members of AFACI are Bangladesh, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar. AFACI’s headquarters is located at International Technology Cooperation Center, Rural Development Administration, Jeonju, South Korea.
Among the technologies developed by PhilMech for the cassava industry is a belt dryer that can dry granulated cassava in just four hours compared to one to two days using sun drying. It uses a biomass furnace to dry granulated cassava and has a capacity of 400 to 470 kilograms per hour. Two persons can operate the drying unit.
PhilMech also developed the cassava digger, which is attached to a farm tractor. It only takes four hours and much less labor to harvest cassava from one hectare using the PhilMech-developed digger.
With manual labor using shovels and other small farm tool, it takes 30 laborers two to three days to harvest cassava from one hectare.