by Dyann C. Daniel
From humankind’s earliest efforts at agriculture over 10,000 years ago, little has changed in the challenges associated with grain storage. Efforts to seal and protect grain stores against losses to spoilage and pests have led to countless approaches to grain storage systems, giving way to globalization. Despite many advances in grain storage construction techniques, the challenges have remained the same while the need for flexible on-site grain storage continues to increase.
Isabela State University in the Isabela Province, Philippines, with a mandate of providing advanced instruction in the agricultural and natural sciences as well as in technological fields, took action on these trials by innovating a Self-Propelled Riding Type Grain Collector (Bagger) for Solar Dried Grains. The project was recently approved for TECHNiCOM funding following the Program’s 1st Wave of Call for Proposals.
The machine, having a high capacity of 360-380 cavans (18-19 tons) per hour, can collect solar-dried grains on paved roads and save them from possible wetting due to sudden rainfall. With over 80 percent of farmers, related cooperatives, and traders using solar drying, this technology has an economic advantage in the quality and quantity production of solar-dried crops.
ISU’s Grain Bagger, in its second design, as conceptualized by Dr. Alcaraz
Dr. Joel M. Alcaraz, Project Leader of ISU’s Grain Bagger project, firmly considers employing machines in agricultural production to significantly increase labor productivity and projected income of farmers and for the Philippines to compete with its Asian neighbors.
“...[I]n order to attain sustainable development in the country, locally designed and manufactured machines that are developed based on the demand of the local farmers are a prerequisite,” he added.
With the technical and commercial viability of ISU’s Grain Bagger, DOST-TAPI’s Technology Innovation for Commercialization (TECHNiCOM) Program is funding its pre-commercialization activities, specifically on commercial model prototyping and pilot-testing. The ISU is expected to fabricate commercial models of a self-propelled riding type grain collector and conduct their testing in different areas of Isabela.
The fabricated third model of ISU’s Grain Bagger, soon to be commercially upgraded
Together with TECHNiCOM, the Grain Bagger will be able to fulfill the need to develop an affordable but high-capacity tool in the market for the target farmers and related cooperatives, especially with ISU’s advocacy to provide ease and comfort to every Filipino farmer in the country.
“Our local people and their increasing losses in agricultural production inspire me to introduce this simple machine that will lighten their work, particularly in drying crops on pavements,” Dr. Alcaraz stated.
ISU’s Grain Bagger is not just another innovative tool but something that can pave the way for other promising agricultural innovations – a feat that is challenging but worthwhile.
TECHNiCOM has opened its 2nd Wave of Call for Proposals in July 2022 and welcomes similar impactful pre-commercialization projects to apply.
Dr. Joel Alcaraz, the man behind ISU’s Grain Bagger, attended the Inception Meeting led by TECHNiCOM’s Program Manager, Ms. Mechelle Balboa, on 5th July 2022.