THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has released P2.6 million to two coastal villages and two farmers groups for the construction of permanent-type solar-powered seaweed dryers.
DOST Regional Director Martin Wee said that the beneficiaries of the financial aid released through the agency’s Grant-in-Aid (GIA) program are the village government units of Mampang and Tigtabon, which received P350,000 and P990,000, respectively; Maharlika Seaweed Farmers Marketing Cooperative in Talon-Talon village, P350,000; and, Kasanyangan Nursery Seaweeds Enterprises, Inc. of Arena Blanco village, P990,000.
Wee said the beneficiaries have recently begun construction of the permanent-type solar-powered seaweed dryers. Some 400 families in the four areas are set to benefit from the use of drying technology.
He said that the permanent-type dryer is a storehouse-like structure that has been designed by the University of the Philippines–Los Baños (UPLB) to withstand harsh weather conditions, and provide easy, all-around access for farmers.
Wee said its counterpart, the floating-type dryer, stays on the water surface and allows farmers to tow the structure close to their production area for faster harvesting.
He said that both have been designed to keep the harvested seaweeds from direct exposure to sand, dirt and other contaminants that are usually collected during the harvesting, hauling and storage phases.
Aside from the greenhouse treated sheets that cover both facilities, they are also fitted with built-in, solar-powered exhaust fans for the quick and uniform drying of stocks, according to Wee.
At present, Wee said that studies have shown the structures to be capable of drying two tons of fresh seaweeds in a matter of three days, without any inconsistency in production. (SunStar Zamboanga)