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A grocer on Thursday, December 23, 2010 shows a piece of candy as change for eighty cents given by a cashier at a branch of the Joan's Pharmacy in Zamboanga City in Mindanao. The Department of Trade and Industry warns shops to give exact change to customers instead of candies, but despite this, the illegal practise is still rampant in Zamboanga City. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)
PAGADIAN CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Dec. 23, 2010) - Farmers who are recipients of the Department of Agriculture’s flatbed dryer project here said the technology helped them dry their harvest easily and save them from wastage.
Ronald Pepito, president of Mantiliba Irrigators Association in New Basak, Dumingag, Zamboanga Del Sur said their one unit of flatbed dryer is now serving its 255 members with 670 hectares service area.
“It has a good performance. With the flatbed dryer, we can dry immediately and store it the next day. However, the quality of the grains does not only depend on the dryer. The kind of seeds used is also a factor in the end product of the grain,” said Pepito.
The association charged P10 drying fee per sack for farmers who avail of the services of the flatbed dryer. They will also provide the laborer and rice hull as fuel for the biomass furnace.
Today, the group already earned P30,000 for its drying services. It has dried around 4,000 cavans of palay since they received the technology in 2009.
Producing quality dried grains will assure farmers of added income. Moreover, problems with the traders who took advantage of the situation of the farmers will now be eliminated as they are equipped with moisture meter to test the moisture content of their harvests.
Bonifacio Corpuz, president of the Dalapang Irrigators Association in Dalapang, Labangan and Alfredo Orque of Upper Salug Daku Integrated Development Multi-purpose Cooperative in Upper Salug, Mahayag said the technology is being useful to many farmers in the area.
Corpuz said before they acquired the technology many of its members dry their harvests along the roads. This is why according to Corpuz, the association needs additional unit of flatbed to accommodate more farmers.
In a study conducted by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija revealed that highway drying results to 2.3 percent physical losses during the wet season and 1.3 percent losses during the dry season.
On the other hand, Orque said the dryer is a great help especially during rainy season. “We will no longer fear the coming of rainy days because we now have drying facilities,” he said.
The province of Zamboanga Del Sur received 124 units of flatbed dryer. The distribution of the flatbed dryers to irrigators associations and cooperatives is part of the mechanical drying program to farm cluster of the DA through PHilMech. (Special to the Mindanao Examiner Erwin S. Embuscado)