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DAR Dryers help Bicol farmers improve products

By Connie Calipay

LEGAZPI CITY --- Farmers in Bicol are reaping the benefits of using 46 portable solar dryers, also known as "portasol", from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

In an interview on Thursday, Niriza Barquilla, DAR-Bicol assistant information officer, said a total of 17 agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) from five provinces have reportedly improved the quality of their products and reduced labor after receiving the dryers from January to May this year.

She said the ARBOs are from Legazpi City, Albay; Vinzons and Labo in Camarines Norte; Sorsogon City, Sorsogon; and Gigmoto and San Andres in Catanduanes; and Bula, San Fernando, Tigaon, Bombon, Calabanga, Ocampo, Pili, Lagonoy, Bombon, and Ocampo in Camarines Sur.

"The portasol dryers, costing PHP36,500 per unit and totaling PHP1.67 million, have significantly reduced drying time and labor compared to traditional methods. This initiative is part of an institutional partnership agreement with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) supplying the dryers to meet the needs of the ARBOs," Barquilla said.

She said the portable solar dryers are used to dry palay and other agricultural products, particularly during the rainy season.

"Each ARBO has at least 30 members or more than 500 member-beneficiaries. With portasol, they will have shorter drying periods compared to the methods they used before. Previously, when drying palay and it rained, they had to remove it and take it so that it wouldn't get wet, but now, even if it rains, the drying process will continue. The quality of the palay will not be compromised because it is not moved much during the drying process," Barquilla said in Filipino.

In a statement, Floribe Macapagal, a leader of one of the beneficiary groups, thanked the government for the support given to them and committed to maximizing the use of the portasol. (PNA)


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