The Cassava Digger developed by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) has found favor with upland farmers in Alfonso Lista, Ifugao.
Cyril Cattiling, a 56-year-old cassava farmer who owns and tills 54 hectares of land for the crop, said the
Cassava Digger allows him and members of the of Ifugao Tapioca Growers Association (ITGA) to harvest the crop faster and with less damage, since shovels are not used and the manual method of pulling the plant is not employed.
Cattiling is the president of Ifugao Tapioca Growers Association (ITGA) and farm manager of Yao Jia Xi Corp. which supplies cassava granules to San Miguel Corp. (SMC). ITGA has successfully organized all cassava growers in the municipality while Yao Jia Xi provides planting materials and shares technology to ITGA farmer-members.
It was in a corn congress in Tagaytay where Cattiling met engineer Donald Mateo of PHilMech who introduced him to the Cassava Digger manufactured by ACT (Machineries and Metal Craft) Corp., the partner of PHilMech in the development of the equipment.
Cattiling said that under the manual system of harvesting cassava, it took two weeks and 15 laborers paid at P250 per day to harvest the crop from one hectare. With the Cassava Digger, it takes only two days and nine laborers to harvest cassava from one hectare.