THE Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) expects to commercialize its Fluidized Bed Dryer mainly for rice farmers within the year.
In a statement sent over the weekend, PhilMech Executive Director Baldwin G. Jallorina said that the center has managed to increase the dryer’s capacity to one ton of palay per batch from 500 kilograms previously.
“PhilMech researchers and scientists have vastly improved on the Fluidized Bed Dryer prototype that the agency developed in 2015. From the latter part of this year, PhilMech will take steps to commercialize the technology,” he added.
The agency will be selecting farm machinery fabricators to manufacture the dryer, thereby promoting domestically-made farm equipment.
Aside from processing palay (unmilled rice) the Fluidized Bed Dryer can also be used in food processing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, dairy production, and by the metal and dye industries.
“[T]he local farm machinery industry […] has the potential to employ more people especially in the rural areas, not only in the actual manufacture of the machines but also in the provision of after-sales or maintenance services,” Mr. Jallorina said.
With the commercialization of the dryer, PHilMech expects better-quality rice, especially during the rainy season when smaller farmers who resort to sun drying are at a disadvantage.
The center said rice yields drop to around 50% to 60% if palay is improperly dried.
Access to a dryer means farmers will not need to sell their palay at a lower price to traders who have drying facilities, Mr. Jallorina said. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato