ILOILO, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 16, 2010) - A group of rice farmers in the town of Pavia are requesting for additional flatbed dryers to accommodate their drying needs during harvest season.
Eduardo Alcazarem, president of Palacat-tian Irrigators Association, said their lone dryer is insufficient to dry all the harvests of their members.
He said association has more than 800 hectare service area.
“We cannot dry all the produce of our members simultaneously, this is why we would like to ask for additional units of flatbed dryer. It is really a big help to us,” he said.
According to Alcazarem, the FBD gave work to the community since it started its operation in August 2008. Out-of-school youth were hired as laborers to earn additional income.
He said the quality of the grains dried using the FBD is much better compared to solar drying. The National Food Authority offers higher price to FBD-dried grains because of the quality and moisture content of the grains.
Likewise, the traders in the area also prefer to buy and mill FBD-dried grains because of good milling recovery, he added. “With the flatbed dryer, we can dry our harvest even at night and store it the following day,” he said.
Before the association acquired the dryer, the farmers were forced to sell their harvest at a lower price to avoid rotting, he said.
“Now, the members just bring their harvest here and they can get it the next day. The 30 pesos drying fee includes the fuel and the payment for the laborers and operator,” Alcazarem said, adding, members of the association who avail of the drying services are charged 30 pesos per sack.
According to Sharon Rose Jucaban, senior institutional development officer of the National Irrigation Administration in Region 6, the dryer operates 24 hours to serve the members of the association.
To continuously use the dryer, the association makes sure the damaged parts of the dryer are replaced immediately. Some of the improvements made by the association include the replacement of the flooring from perforated screen to bamboo slat and the extension of the shed.
The distribution of the flatbed dryers to irrigators association is part of the mechanical drying program to farm cluster of the Department of Agriculture. (Erwin S. Embuscado)