Flatbed dryers boost high-grade palay production in Abra
by Maritess Beñas
Bangued, Abra (6 March) -- The flatbed dryers allocated by the Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF for the province is seen to boost high grade palay production in the province.
In a report by Jesus Villamor, Jr., Abra's OIC Provincial Agriculturist (OPAG), a total of 13 flatbed dryers were allocated to the province which is one of the ACEF's priority areas for post harvest facilities.
Three units were turned-over to the irrigators' associations in the province last February 24. The first three recipients are the Abra Irrigators' Association of Bangued, Tayum and Pidigan; the Luzong-Ayyeng-San Ramon Farmers Irrigators Association of Manabo; and the Bagatoy Irrigators Association of La Paz.
Engr. Herminia Bolaoit, in-charge of the Infrastructure Projects of OPAG, explained that the irrigators' associations that are producing more than 100 cavans of palay are given priority in the granting of the said post-harvest facility. The list of qualified irrigators' associations were provided by the National Irrigation Administration and validated by the OPAG.the three are the biggest IAs in the province.
The associations are given the liberty to formulate and implement their own policies regarding the use of the flatbed dryers in order to maintain and prolong the life span of the machines. The association officers have all agreed to adopt their own scheme of collecting rentals or fees from the farmers who use the machine for the maintenance of these.
The flatbed dryers are a big help to the farmers especially during the rainy seasons when farmers experience losses in their palay production due to the damage on their produce. When palay grains are not dried before stacking them, these blacken and even rot or sprout and the National Food Authority does not buy these as they are classified as rejects. Worst, when the grains rot, the palay cannot be milled anymore and this means a lot of losses for the farmers.
The machines are equipped with a 12.5 horsepower-engine and are capable of frying 6 tons or 120 cavans of palay in one session of about 6 to 12 hours. Bolaoit further explained that the rice hull could also be utilized as furnace. With the use of the rice hull, the farmers could save a lot of costs in power consumption. Three sacks of rice hull is enough to operate the machine per hour which means, only 18–36 sacks of rice hull is needed to dry 120 cavans of palay.
Villamor pointed out the importance of the use of appropriate drying machines. With the flatbed dryers, farmers are able to save 5% expected losses which is equivalent to 2.5 kilos per sack of palay at 50 kilos per sack.
Since the flatbed dryers are pre-fabricated in Negros, the costs of the transshipment of the machines are shouldered by Governor Eustaquio Bersamin who had committed his full-support to the farmers. (PIA-Abra) [top]