Tuesday, February 15, 2011

OPA Negros Occidental introduces post-harvest breakthrough

By Vishia Mae Dominic J Tolcidas

RACG Representative
FITS OPA Negros Occidental

Farmers and fisherfolks in Negros need not worry of rainy days or the absence of sunlight any longer because a post-harvest breakthrough will soon be the answer to their drying woes.

The Dual Feed Dryer, a one-of-a-kind drying facility, was devised by the AgriculturalEngineering Division of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) to suit all weather types, making drying of fish and crops for banana and potato chips a breeze.

The innovation could shorten the drying process for fish to half from the usual drying time of three days, and only about three hours for ‘lamayo’ (local term for semi-dried fish),” said Provincial Agriculturist Engr. Igmedio Tabianan, who designed the prototype. He added that the enclosure makes the facility dust-free, smoke-free, and insect-free.

“It is also economical because it uses solar energy and biomass fuel such as charcoal and rice hull. Materials such as plywood, lumber and galvanized iron sheet used to assemble the device are available in the local market,” he said.

Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. is happy with the innovation which is attuned to the NEGROS FIRST Agenda on Food Security of the Province of Negros Occidental.

Tabianan said the provincial chief executive plans to mass-produce the dyer after he personally inspected it at the OPA Demonstration Farm located at the back of the Provincial Capitol Building in Bacolod City.

“Many local government units have already signified their intention to avail of the equipment to help in the drying needs of farmers and fisherfolks in their localities,” said Engr. Jimbo Garsula, head of the OPA Agricultural Engineering Division.

At the week-long Minuluan Festival Agro-Fair in Talisay City in September last year, farmers and fisherfolk took turns in drying fish and bananas for chips after OPA staff demonstrated how the Dual Feed Dryer works.

The Nutrition and Home Management Division of OPA also used the equipment to dry the tilapia they used during the 'tilanggit' processing they conducted at the Demo Farm.

The first-of-its-kind Dual Feed Dryer stands tall with the Provincial Capitol Building in the background.

Fish drying in the new facility. (OPA and Capitol photos)

Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. inspects the Dryer for Fish and Crops as Provincial Agriculturist Engr. Igmedio Tabianan and Executive Assistant Angel Verdeflor look on

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