CamSur farmers use solar rice dryers from NGOs

By Mavic Conde


Farmers in Camarines Sur can now dry their palay harvests with solar dryers, an innovative typhoon relief assistance from Oxfam and its partner Rice Watch Action Network (R1) for its Typhoon Rolly Recovery Program.


The rice bubble dryer traps hot air via its transparent tunnel top, and its electric-powered blower enables faster drying and reduces grain loss due to rain, spillage and animals, according to Oxfam Philippines, an international network of organizations that helps build a future free from poverty.


While its aim is to address the farmers’ struggle of rice-drying during rainy seasons and continued flooding after typhoons, its benefits go beyond that. “The drying tunnel also provides a buffer for the temperature and protects the grains from overheating, which is common during sun-drying at noon,” according to R1’s report which Oxfam cited in its website.


R1 provided four Solar Bubble Dryers (SBD) developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Hohenheim University in Germany, and GrainPro to the municipalities of Milaor, Canaman, Magarao, and Camaligan.


The dryer does not produce carbon emissions too, especially when solar-powered and has a low operating cost. “Human-driven carbon emissions are major contributors to global warming, and in turn climate change, which has been linked to extreme weather events,” according to Oxfam.


Moreover, it is easy to set up which is helpful for farmers who are majority in their 50s. Organic seeds (traditional and inbred varieties) were also provided. Since these can be saved or re-used for planting, farmers will be able to save on cost. It came from Sorsogon farmers, who, according to Oxfam, were part of a Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation project.


Part of this typhoon recovery project also involved the distribution of organic soil enhancer or bokashi and the setting up of two hydroponics vegetable seedling nurseries. These allow them to grow vegetables that could be harvested in a month’s time within a limited space.