PHilMech to Test Rolling Corn Mill Technology
MANILA: The Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) is improving its compact corn mill to help more farming villages boost their productivity, in an effort to increase their income and enhance food security.
"We're piloting in Bukidnon province a rolling version of the mill," Dr. Michael Gragasin, PHilMech supervising science research specialist and 2018 Presidential Lingkod Bayan awardee, said in a briefing on Thursday.
Gragasin noted that PHilMech chose Bukidnon as pilot area for the rolling mill because its people generally eat corn.
"The piloting will allow end-users there to use the rolling corn mill technology for a year so flaws in our design can be exposed and corrected," he said.
The design aims to enable PHilMech's corn mill to be brought to where it is needed, he added.
"As much as possible, we want to reach out to rural communities so we hope to finish the piloting next year," Gragasin said.
He said the Center developed the stationary version of its corn mill to achieve more efficient and cost-effective processing of corn, which is among the country's staple grains.
Gragasin said he is optimistic that this development would help increase corn milling and promote more corn consumption nationwide.
PHilMech also decided to develop the corn mill's rolling version to enable farmers to mill corn in their areas instead of transporting their produce to where milling facilities are located, he said.
This version requires connecting the corn mill to a diesel-powered vehicle, he added.
Gragasin said vehicles for the rolling corn mills can include jeepneys facing possible phase-out due to the government's transportation modernization bid.
Corn grits produced from PHilMech's corn mills can be mixed with rice grains, he said.
Using a 50:50 ratio to mix those grits with 6 percent of total rice nationwide would reduce the country’s rice demand by almost 753,000 metric tons (MT) annually, he said.
"We have limited land planted to rice so corn is a good substitute to increase the volume of grains we eat," he said, adding that the volume of Philippine corn production is sufficient to meet the proposed mix.
Meanwhile, Gragasin won the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award for his work, which the Civil Service Commission (CSC) cited as having exceptional or extraordinary nationwide impact.
Aside from being involved in the corn mill's development, the CSC said Gragasin helped design PHilMech's impeller rice mill that could help achieve more efficient and cheaper processing of palay, another staple grain in the country.
The CSC added that his work reinforces PHilMech’s bid to promote food security nationwide.