The members of Salabusob Integrated Livelihood Association of Women (SILAW) are looking forward to their turmeric harvest in December after completing their business development training and mastering the operation of a new solar tunnel dryer and kitchen tools, which have been provided by USAID under its Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative. With the support, SILAW now has the knowledge, tools and capacity needed to meet the volume requirement and quality standards of their buyers.
The W-GDP Initiative, through USAID’s Protect Wildlife project, provided the women’s organization in Nueva Ecija province with equipment to make slicing and drying—the most labor-intensive steps in post-harvest processing of turmeric—more hygienic and efficient. SILAW received mechanized slicing machines and other labor-saving, food-grade kitchen tools for faster turmeric chipping. The solar tunnel dryer can be loaded up with up to 150 kilograms of sliced turmeric every two days of drying time with six percent moisture content. This makes the drying process more efficient and it replaces the outdated method of using plastic matting with a cover, which could only dry 10 kilograms of turmeric in three days. The solar tunnel dryer can also be used to dry vegetables and fruits when turmeric is off-season, giving SILAW members the opportunity to diversify their products.
Along with these pieces of equipment were provisions of trainings in organizational development, business planning, and bookkeeping for SILAW members. With the help of the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, which provided technical support for the fabrication and installation of the equipment, they crafted the operations manual for the solar tunnel dryer. (PWP/ May Anne Ramos)