DOST-designed “spray dryer” that converts calamansi extract to powder. (Photos courtesy of DOST-MIMAROPA)

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has designed a spray dryer that would convert calamansi extract into powder.

The process is expected to address the consequences of oversupply particularly in Oriental Mindoro which is the main producer of calamansi in the region, and help farmers prevent post-harvest losses.

DOST said in a press statement the spray dryer will not only make it possible for calamansi (also called calamondin) extracts to have longer shelf life as a powder but will also retain its nutrients.

The statement said the oversupply has already resulted in prices drop and huge post-harvest losses that have left farmers in a dilemma.

“According to the Provincial Agriculturist Office (PAO), post-harvest losses are due to the commodity’s high perishability, making it difficult to dispose to consumers considering the geographic location of the province.  This also compels farmers to sell their produce immediately after harvest at low prices, sometimes at a value lesser than the production cost. PAO recognizes that engaging in value adding activities or increasing the value of farmers’ produce is the key to agricultural profitability,” said the DOST.

The spray dryer was installed June this year at the Agripreneur Incubator within the premises of the Oriental Mindoro’s demo farm in Barangay Merit, Victoria town.

Agriprineur Incubator is a community-based processing facility for agricultural entrepreneurs (agripreneurs) who support and strengthen value-adding of priority commodities in their province, DOST also said in its statement.

Presently, the spray dryer is under the management of PAO.

This spray dryer is seen to boost the profit of farmers and decrease post-harvest losses of calamansi in the province.

“Anyone interested can use the spray dryer with a corresponding fee. Partners will assist in other aspects of the project such as sustaining supply of fresh calamansi fruits, marketing and selling of products in local and international market, research and development activities, and technology adoption,” DOST said.