DOST taps solar trays to improve fish drying
The Department of Science and Technology has provided solar drying trays to help fishers in Uyugan town, Batanes province improve the quality of “Dibang” dried fish.
Sancho Mabborang, regional director of DOST in Region 2, said the Portasol solar drying trays, developed by Filipino inventor Francisco ‘Ka Popoy’ Pagayon would help the fishing town increase the production of dried fish with greater product quality and food safety.
“The Portasol would allow the efficient and also a sanitary way of drying ‘Dibang’ in multiple trays and not the same way as before when they dried it on the streets and other wide cement surfaces around the town,” Mabborang said.
DOST Region 2 granted two sets of Portasol trays, a vacuum packaging machine and packaging materials with a combined cost of P500,000 under the agency’s Community Empowerment Through Science and Technology project.
Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Pena endorsed Portasol as a solar drying option for various crops and products that can also avoid unnecessary vehicular accidents caused by roadside rice, corn, coffee beans and fish drying.
Pagayon, who is also the president and chief executive of Filipino Inventors Society Producers Cooperative Inc., said drying crops and fishery products on highways were causing irritation and distraction among motorists.
“This 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.
Pagayon said aside from being a cause of vehicular accidents, the roadside or highway pavement crop drying also led to grains production losses.
“The Portasol is a simple solution to an old problem and an immediate response to the cry of all our farmers for simple, easy, more effective and indigenous dryers that will put an end to the country’s extensive perennial post-harvest losses,” he said.
He said the Portasol tray drying system is more effective, efficient and reliable as it is two to three times faster in drying crops compared to the conventional practice of pavement drying.
Pagayon said he wanted to introduce Portasol nationwide to revolutionize the entire post-harvest system.
He said there would also be a considerable ease and convenience in collecting, re-sacking and storing dried grains with the Portasol system.
Portasol could also prevent pest infestation, says Pagayon.