The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) is currently conducting the prototype testing of a compact cornmill that can be easily transported and has a milling efficiency better to some units that are imported.
PhilMech Executive Director Rex Bingabing said that the cornmill developed by the agency is locally fabricated and has state-of-the-art design features that makes it more compact and more efficient than existing cornmills. The machine can help increase the consumption of corn grits in far-flung areas where there are no corn-milling facilities but where corn planting is a major activity.
“Corn grits, popularly known as mais-bugas, is a staple in many parts of the Visayas and Mindanao, and can also be consumed in communities where corn farming is more viable. But many far-flung communities hardly have or are far from corn milling facilities,” Bingabing said.
The corn mill, which was designed by a PhilMech team from the agency’s Agricultural Mechanization Division led by Dr. Michael Gragasin and Romualdo Martinez, will be tested in Masbate (Luzon), Bohol (Visayas), and Surigao Del Norte (Mindanao) up to the end of this year.
This research effort supports the Food Staple Sufficiency Program (FSSP) of the Department of Agriculture which encourages households to also consume other stapled like milled white corn, which can help relieve pressure on local rice supplies,” he said.
White corn serves is the staple of about 15 percent of the total population, mostly in major islands of Visayas and Mindanao, in the form of corn grits.
“The implementation of the White Corn Program [under the FSSP]aims not only to sustain the requirement of white corn-eating populace and address hunger problems but also to encourage rice-consumers to incorporate white corn to their usual eating habit,” the PhilMech researchers said.
PhilMech researchers said the prototype testing is being undertaken to evaluate the performance of the machine in full commercial operation.
The PhilMech-developed corn–mill has a recovery of between 60 percent and 70 percent, which is the viable level for the recovery of grits.