S and T Post Banner
Vol. XXVI, 4th Quarter
October – December 2008

 


Banana chipper helps smallholder processors

THERE’S A SWEET AND CRISPY FUTURE for banana chips as export food product. In 2003, export volume to 55 countries reached 25,998.3 tons with a value of $24.35 million or $0.937/kg. The burgeoning banana chips industry owes much of its production to many smallholder processors.

To sustain the growth of the industry, product quality has to be improved through upgraded processing equipment. It is almost incredible that, at this age, smallholder processors still use the knife in chipping banana. This results in inconsistent chip thickness and frequent hand injuries among cutters.

But thanks to a devise developed by a faculty member of the Capiz State University (CapSU) in Burias, Mambusao, Capiz, the thickness of the chips is now uniform and hand accidents are now prevented.

Said device, a portable and manually operated banana chipper cuts bananas lengthwise. “The chipper is fabricated using locally available materials,” revealed Julito Albaladejo of CapSU’s Agricultural Engineering. Major parts of the prototype chipper include the feeding hopper, chipping plate attached to a hand lever, discharge hopper, and support stand.

Tests using the equipment showed favorable results. For example, 60 kg of newly peeled “saba” fruits showed a shorter average chipping time of 12.20

 

banana chips

minutes only compared with the manual method of 55.28 minutes. The equipment’s chipping capacity of 43.65 kg/hour was higher compared with the manual method of only 7.99 kg/hour. The chipping efficiency was also higher at 87% than the manual method at 72.50%.

Albaladejo recommended the use of manually operated banana chipper for small scale banana chips processing because it is affordable and easy to operate. Cost of the prototype banana chipper as of 2006 is P3,650.

This project won second place under the Development Category during the Western Visayas Agriculture Resources Research and Development Consortium Regional Symposium on Research and Development Highlights held last year in Iloilo City.