With the Duterte administration’s goal to make the agriculture sector competitive, the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) is taking on the challenge by rolling out technology for mass adoption by farmers and those engaged in agribusiness.
In a media briefing, PHilMech Executive Director Rex Bingabing said the technologies are products of the innovative approaches to production, post-harvest, and food processing.
“Through Agrinnovation, PHilMech was able to develop farming technologies that are ready for adoption in 18 months instead of the usual three to six years. We did this by innovating and improving existing technologies for local adoption, including those under development by the agency,” Bingabing said.
“The machines for the seven technologies can all be locally-manufactured and that means the metal fabrication industry will benefit once demand for the machines developed by PHilMech will increase in the years to come,” he said.
PHilMech has two sets of technologies for soybeans, one for post-harvest and the other for processing the commodity into value-added products like curd, milk, and “taho.”
PHilMech also developed the Cassava Digger and Belt Drier for better harvest and post-harvest processes.
The Pectin Extraction Machine extracts pectin from mango peels and helps reduce the importation of pectin for the cosmetics, and food processing industries
The Village-level Cocowater Pasteurizer is equipped with a touch screen programmable logic control system for easy monitoring. It has an output capacity of 500 liters of coconut water per day or 1,600 of 300 ml bottles.
The Compact Corn Mill is small enough to be transported by a utility vehicle to the countryside where there are no milling facilities. It has a capacity of 250 kilograms per hour, with a recovery rate of 64.32 percent and degerming efficiency of 91.45 percent. It also eliminates aflatoxin from newly-harvested corn.
Weighing only 98 kilograms, the Brown Rice Huller can process 98 kilograms of brown rice in an hour, addressing the need for rice retailers to mill brown rice. Brown rice has a limited shelf life of two months.
The Root Crop Washer is in use at the Benguet AgriPinoy Trading Center.
PHilMech is field testing several technologies that the agency is aiming for mass adoption if feasible. These include the Fluidized Bed Dryer, the GPS-guided and self-driving Tractor, the Biocontrol Agents for Fruits, the Hand tractor-driven Rice Transplanter and Mini Combine Rice Harvester, the Sugarcane Harvester, and the Coffee Bean Color Sorter.
Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala earlier said that the farm is sector is nearing its target of 4 horsepower per hectare.
“We are getting there,” Alcala said, citing latest data that showed the local agriculture, particularly the rice sector, is now close to 3 horsepower per hectare. “This number is double the 2010 status at 0.75 horsepower per hectare.”
Through mechanization, Bingabing said rice farmers can be as competitive as their counterparts in Southeast Asia, particularly from Thailand and Vietnam.
A recent study by PhilMech shows that the mechanical transplanter and combine harvester lower the production cost of palay from P10-P11 per kilogram to P7 per kilogram.
“This is significant if we want to be competitive with our ASEAN neighbors. Thailand is at P8.73 per kilogram and Vietnam is at P6.07 per kilogram,” according to PhilMech.