Tapping technology in practical ways

By Julio Yap Jr.


THE ADOPTION of science and technology (S&T) innovation is expected to revolutionize corn milling for village-level operation in the country.


This demonstrates, once again, that the use of technology in practical ways can help to advance the human condition, particularly for those in the countryside.


Developed by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the improved mobile corn mill is considered technically viable and financially feasible.


Dr. Michael A. Gragasin, Dr. Irwin V. Salapare, Engr. Jayvee P. Ilustrisimo and Dr. Romualdo C. Martinez of PhilMech developed the technology.


The technology is a departure from the traditional corn mills that still use emery stone, two steel rollers, and oscillating sifter that all require huge amount of power. It is suitable for both white corn and yellow corn varieties.


With the improvement on the degerminator, grinding, sifting, and cleaning mechanisms of the corn mill, the machine yielded higher input capacity of 940-1,100 kg/hour.


Gragasin and his team said the estimated cost of the mobile corn mill with total input capacity of 1,000 kg/hour is P850,000/unit without the shed.


This amount is only 28 percent of the P2.95 million total cost of traditional corn mill of the same capacity.


PhilMech’s financial analysis indicates that at P950,000 total investment cost for the corn mill and the shed for the machine, the estimated total cost of milling is P0.88/kg output.


This fee is very much lower compared with the prevailing milling fee in the market of P3.10 to P4.70 per kilogram output. Internal rate of return on investment is estimated at 79.81 percent.


The lifespan of the corn mill is 10 years and the total annual operating time is 600 hours.


With product recovery of 66-71 percent and degerminator efficiency of 82-88 percent, the technology has fully satisfied the Philippine agricultural engineering standard for corn mill, which is set at 64 percent minimum product recovery and 80 percent degerminator efficiency.


Once widely adopted, the developed mobile corn mill technology, with all its advantages, is expected to help in reducing the price of corn grits in the market.


As a result, it could induce wider consumption of corn grits and lower the per capita consumption of rice in the country.


PhilMech recommends the pilot testing of the technology in white corn and yellow corn areas to fully establish its technical and socio-economic acceptability.


The project “Design, Testing and Evaluation of Mobile Corn Mill for Village-Level Operation” placed second in the National Symposium on Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (NSAARRD) research category.


For placing second, it bagged a cash prize amounting to P125,000 in the Best R&D Paper, Research Category.


NSAARRD is being spearheaded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).


The awarding ceremony was recently held during PCAARRD’s seventh year anniversary at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, where it recognized the effort of its partners through the NSAARRD.