The Department of Agriculture (DA) said over the weekend it is ready to commercially roll out a compact corn mill, which could help farmers increase milling efficiency by more than threefold.
The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) said the field tests it conducted on the compact corn mill showed that the equipment’s design is better than those currently being used in the country, both locally manufactured and imported.
“The improved model has an output of 240 kilograms per hour [kgs/hr], which is a 49-percent increase over the 161 kgs/hr of the initial model,” PhilMech Executive Director Dionisio G. Alvindia said.
“Based on data gathered by PhilMech, most of the corn mills in use in the Philippines today, which do not have a compact design of the agency’s model, have outputs ranging from 39.4 kgs/hr to 73.5 kgs/hr,” Alvindia added.
He said the compact corn mill designed by PhilMech allows easy transport and can be manufactured in the country using mostly local parts.
PhilMech, an attached agency of the DA, said several farm machinery makers are keen on applying for a license from the agency to manufacture the compact corn mill.
Alvindia said the participation of local manufacturers during pilot testing also improved the process of fabricating the commercial unit and made it easier to maintain.
“Most manufacturers of farm machinery in the Philippines are mostly small and medium enterprises that have the ability to fabricate using mostly local materials equipment, like threshers for palay (unmilled rice), hand tractors, various types of driers, corn- and rice-milling machines, among others,” he said.
Alvindia said the the degerminator efficiency of the improved PhilMech model is 94.7 percent compared to the 81.2 percent of the initial model. Its product recovery also improved to 72.3 percent from 64.7 percent, while the cost of milling per output was reduced to P0.95 per kilo from P1.18 of the initial model.
Dergemination is the process of milling corn seeds into corn grits, the form which the livestock sectors utilize for feeds.
Corn mills process corn grits into bugas, or milled corn that is currently promoted as a staple that could even replace rice on the table, according to PhilMech.
“It is touted to be more nutritious than rice. Consumption of ‘bugas’ is popular in the Visayas and parts of Mindanao, while more health buffs are beginning to try it,” PhilMech said.
Alvindia said he has mandated the teams that have developed technologies to make sure that all licensed manufacturers must comply with the original design and specifications by the agency, including materials used.
“All PhilMech-designed prototypes of equipment underwent rigorous field and pilot testing so the agency can come up with the most feasible design that is easy to use, durable in design and feasible to operate,” he said.
“So the manufacturers of the PhilMech-designed equipment must make sure the product specifications are met, and the materials used should have the same standards as the PhilMech model approved for mass commercialization,” Alvindia added.