Science and Environment

Batanes flying fish get new portable dryer

Rainier Allan Ronda - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has tapped a locally developed post-harvest solar drying tray to help fisherfolk in the coastal town of Uyugan in Batanes increase production of their native dried flying fish called “dibang.”

Engineer Sancho Mabborang, DOST Region 2 director, said that the Portasol developed by inventor-entrepreneur Francisco Pagayon, president and CEO of the Filipino Inventors Society Producers Cooperative, would enable efficient drying of the dibang with a high level of food safety and product quality.

“The Portasol would allow efficient and also sanitary way of drying the dibang in multiple trays and not the same way as before when they dried it on streets and other wide cement surfaces around town,” Mabborang said.

DOST Region 2 provided two sets of trays, as well as a vacuum packaging machine and materials worth P500,000 under the DOST’s Community Empowerment Through Science and Technology.

Science Secretary Fortunato dela Peña has endorsed the Portasol as a solar drying option for the various crops and products in the regions that can put an end to unnecessary vehicular accidents caused by highway or roadside palay and corn drying.

Pagayon said motorists passing through national highways in agricultural provinces always found troublesome the practice of farmers drying their crops, whether palay, corn or coffee beans on the roadside or highways.

The adoption of Portasol for fish drying in Batanes showed the versatility of this innovation, the inventor said.

“The traditional drying is still being resorted to by our farmers in the countryside because the usual post-harvest solar dryers that are mere cement slabs are regularly turned into basketball courts or used for some public events,” Pagayon said.

“This will get worse later this year and especially next year during the campaign season when these solar dryers will be used as campaign rally venues,” he said.

Aside from being the cause of accidents, the roadside pavement crop drying also results in production losses.

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