THE Department of Agriculture hosted the Gawad Saka Award. This is an annual search for outstanding achievers in agriculture and fisheries. Dr. Ricardo F. Orge, scientist 1 and Coping with Climate Change Program lead of Philippine Rice Research Institute is the 2015 Gawad Saka Outstanding Agricultural Scientist for Central Luzon. A conferred scientist in 2009, Orge’s more than 20 years of research work was focused on developing machines/equipment that would help enhance the productivity of farmers and their resilience to climate change. The agricultural engineering graduate from Visayas State University had developed, among other engineering technologies, the continuous-type rice hull (CtRH) carbonizer and poultry heating system.

CtRH is used as an alternative and improved system of processing rice hull into biochar or carbonized rice hull together with carbonizer attachments for recovering the generated heat. The carbonizer attachments include high volume cooker, baking oven, and sterilizer for mushroom fruiting bags. Meanwhile, the poultry heating system uses the CtRH-generated heat for brooding chicks, replacing the existing LPG-fueled heaters.

“Studies worldwide proved that biochar is a powerful tool to address some of the most urgent environmental problems of our time: global warming, soil degradation leading to food insecurity, water pollution by agro-chemicals, and waste management,” Orge said.

The carbonizer-attached high volume cooker, is now being pilot-tested by farmers in Bulacan and Aurora.

“It was developed for farmers who want to sell cooked agricultural products such as nilagang mais, saging, and mani, along national or country roads or for those who operate carinderias.  Blueprints are now being finalized for its commercialization together with the CtRH carbonizer,” Orge said. Other machines co-developed by Orge include microtiller, rice flourmill, and seed treating machine.