NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 30, 2010) - Rice farmers in Himamaylan City and its nearby towns is now enjoying the benefits of the flatbed dryer project of the Department of Agriculture as they get additional P10 for their quality dried harvests.
Amelia E. Panaligan, treasurer of Ginituang Masaganang Ani Cluster Sawangan Farmers Association, said their problem in drying their harvest during rainy season has ended upon receiving the flatbed dryer technology.
Panaligan also added that they now can produce quality dried grains and sell these at prices from P13 to P15 per kilo compared to P5 per kilo without the FBD.
“Before we received the flatbed dryer, most of us sell our harvests to traders at P5 per kilo. Now, we can sell them at P13 to P15 per kilo because we now have the drying facilities and we are quipped with moisture meter to determine the moisture content of our harvests. With these, we are assured of right price for our produce and get additional income,” Panaligan said.
She said that it is not only the farmers who benefitted from the FBD, but the organization as well. At present, they recorded a net income of more than P100,000 from its drying services to its members as well as to non-members of the organization.
Part of the amount was spent in the rehabilitation of some damaged parts of the FBD like the perforated screen.
Meanwhile, the members of the Daan Banua Rainfed Farmers Association (DBRFA) in Kabankalan City said they were able to improve and extend the shed of their FBD unit; built a mini warehouse for their dried palay and replaced the perforated screen to bamboo slots as flooring which they found as more effective, durable and cheaper.
The use of bamboo slots was recommended by the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija as a low-cost alternative to perforated screens which are too expensive.
“The bamboo slots as flooring are much better compared to the original flooring. The perforated screen of our unit only lasted for two harvest season. The bamboo flooring, aside from its durability, it is available even at our backyard,” said Elizar T. Gelasan, project manager of the DBRFA.
Another beneficiary of the PHilMech FBD in Negros Occidental is the Katingban Dulao Irrigators’ Association in Bago City. The association caters the drying needs of their 86 members with more than 280 hectares of irrigated land area.
The group also made some improvements to their dryer like the use of steel matting instead of perforated screen. Also, they extended the shed of their FBD to serve as storage areas for their dried palay.
Leopoldo S. Gozon, chairperson of the Katingban Dulao IA, recommended the use of FBD for farmers to enjoy it benefits and save their harvests from wastage.
“During rainy season, harvested palay is at low quality and has a high percentage of deterioration due to lack of drying facilities. Farmers like us suffer a lot, but all these problems were solved with the help of flatbed dryer,” Gozon said.
Officials and members of these farmers organization are still requesting for additional unit of flatbed dryer to accommodate more farmers and enjoy its benefits.
“Through the flatbed dryer, we will no longer dry our harvests along the road and we are assured of added income and we can contribute in reducing postharvest losses,” Gelasan said.
The distribution of the flatbed dryer to irrigators’ associations and farmers’ organizations in the country is part of the mechanical drying program of the Department of Agriculture. (Aeron P. Bermudez)