By: Dyann C. Daniel
Peanut is a traditional legume crop extensively grown in the sandy loam soils along the delta plains of Cagayan Valley (Region 2). It is primarily used for fuel, fiberboard, fodder, butter, milk, and oil. The Philippines is in the top 48 countries of overall world production with a share of about 29,301 MT. The cultivation of peanut crops relies heavily on animal and human power. Likewise, postharvest operations have been observed to cause a negative impact, resulting in high harvesting losses and aflatoxin contamination levels of more than 15 ppb in domestically-produced peanuts.
To address these issues, Cagayan State University (CSU), successfully produced three (3) peanut mechanization technologies in the last five years: the peanut sheller-sorter, the peanut stripper/thresher cum pod sorter, and the intelligent aerated bulk storage for in-shell peanuts. CSU proposed a localized innovative design of the peanut harvesting technology – the Peanut Digger – to further complement these technologies.
Seeing the potential contribution of CSU’s Peanut Digger to the country’s sustainable development, DOST-TAPI’s Technology Innovation for Commercialization (TECHNiCOM) Program recently approved the project and will be supporting its prototype improvement/ iteration, pilot and field testing, and market testing. The Program also previously granted the Grain Bagger of Isabela State University (ISU) assistance with its commercial model prototyping and pilot-testing.
Getting inspiration from the country’s need for agricultural mechanization, Dr. Jose Guzman, Project Leader of CSU’s Peanut Digger project, said: “... [W]e hear the bottlenecks of every local peanut farmer. This local innovation could be more cost-effective than globally imported models.”
CSU’s Peanut Digger is expected to be essential in strengthening and boosting the local peanut industry by speeding up harvest operations and increasing the capacity of farmers to produce high-quality peanuts while reducing labor costs and losses.
CSU’s Peanut Digger is a tractor-mounted, Power Take-Off (PTO) driven machine that digs the peanut plant from the soil, and elevates it to the conveyor, which removes excess soil, and inverts the plant. It was designed to meet the demands and standards of peanut growers, farmers, traders, and their consumers.
“... [T]o achieve a sustainable food production system and implement resilient agriculture, the adoption of technologies that increase the production and productivity of the local farmers is a major priority,” Dr. Guzman finally added.
Dr. Jose Guzman (2nd row, center), the man behind CSU’s Peanut Digger, and his team from CSU attended the Inception Meeting led by TECHNiCOM’s Program Manager, Ms. Mechelle Balboa (1st row, corner left), on 5th July 2022.