Thursday, October 18, 2018

Ilocos Norte gov’t to acquire commodity heat automated multi-pump dryer

LAOAG CITY—The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) is set to purchase a multi-commodity heat pump dehydrator to minimize food loss in agriculture production.

Pegged at PHP1.5 million, the Ilocos Norte government represented by Governor Ma. Imelda Josefa “Imee” R. Marcos has tapped the services of the Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP) based in Silang, Cavite to provide the technology and assists in implementation.

The stainless machine measures 2.44 meters x 4.88 meters x 2.44 meters with a drying chamber, dehumidifier and 126 perforated trays in six racks.

Under the agreement, the AUP and the micro, small and medium enterprise of the province shall jointly implement and utilize the technology particularly in the processing of fresh mangoes, dragon fruits, malunggay leaves and other commodities available.

The two-year project is meant to encourage more farmers to process and add value to their products. The contract is renewable every two years to be able to come up with more conclusive results.

For a mango farmer like Ricardo Tolentino, he said this is a great help for small farmers who could not afford one.

“This is a nice project for it allows more farmers to become productive,” he narrated.

During the peak of harvest season, tons of mangoes, dragon fruits, tomatoes and onions are sold at the mercy of traders. Some are unpicked or just left rotten under the because the cost of labor is higher than the commodity itself.

With the use of dehydrating machines, farmers are optimistic they will be able to earn more by adding more value to their products.

“When we harvest our mangoes, about 100 tons are classified as rejects. We just dump it before but now, we came out with dehydrated fruits or process them into wine or vinegar,” said Mr. Tolentino.

According to Mr. Tolentino, the cost of dehydrating mango is minimal.

For example, 250 kilos of fresh mangoes become 40 kilos when dried. “The price is still competitive,” said Tolentino. He however expressed concern on the increasing prices of basic commodities such as sugar which may have an impact in the food processing business. (PNA)

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