PhilMech develops ‘gadget’ for carrot man
The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) has developed a prototype machine for washing and drying carrots or other rootcrops.
The mechanical washer, developed in collaboration with the Bureau of Agricultural Research–another agency under the agriculture department, was featured at the Highland Vegetable Investment Forum cum Trade Fair held last wek at the Benguet Agri-Pinoy Trading Center.
The mechanical washer can wash one to two tons of carrots per hour or three tons of potatoes per hour. It can also wash other root crops but the rate will depend on the size of the crop.
“Compared to the traditional washing of carrots, the mechanized washer reduces water consumption because of the control mechanism in the spray nozzles secured along the pressure pipes,” PhilMech executive director Rex Bingabing said. The machine can also reduce labor requirements by 80 percent.
The carrots or potatoes are washed when they are placed inside a rotating tumbler and sprayed with water. The machine was developed by Engr. Donald Mateo of PhilMech and its parts consist of the stainless steel frame, the tumbler, the cover, the washer, the inlet conveyor, the discharge conveyor, and the dryer.
Mateo said the washer will help reduce postharvest losses by 20 percent as manual washing damages the root crop and reduces the shelf life of the produce in the retail market. The biggest machine, made of stainless materials, costs P1 million. A smaller model made of polyvinyl chloride PVC can bring down the cost to P200,000. The Benguet Agri Pinoy Trading Center is hoping to set up at least 12 of these machines.