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Promising Technologies for Pili Processing

(by Erwin S. Embuscado 12/30/2010)

Aside from the world famous Mayon Volcano, the unusual and beautiful
white sand beaches and world-class diving spots, the Bicol region is also
known for its indigenous crop-the pili.

Most of the pili are produced and processed in the region. It ranks second to
cashew nuts and has long been recognized for its economic importance
because of its potential in the export market.

There is a growing demand for pili, however the need of the market cannot
be met by the growers and processors. This is because of the lack of
equipment in post-production and processing operations.

Many of the pili growers are still in the manual operation of harvesting and
processing their produce. Thus, they are forced to sell their harvest to
traders at very low prices. These traders get most of the benefits.

One of the common observations in the region is the hoarding of pili fruit by
some pili traders. These traders buy the pili fruit from March to June when
the price is around P150 per kilo. They will store and sell it at P300.

Seeing the downtrodden situation of the pili gowers, the Bicol University
College of Agriculture and Forestry (BUCAF) collaborated with the then
Bureau of Postharvest Research and Extension (now the Philippine Center for
Postharvest Development and Mechanization) for the conduct of benchmark
information survey to identify and possibly address the problems of the pili
industry in the region.

`We started giving attention to the pili industry when the PHilMech and
BUCAF partnered in 1995 for the conduct of the benchmark information
survey`, recalls Engr. Arnulfo Malinis, dean of Bicol University Polangui
Campus and then research coordinator of BUCAF.

`The two institutions identified the problems confronting the pili industry and
what needs to be done. In 1998, we started developing the technologies
based on the results of the study,` he added.

The project is a great help to the industry. It gave birth to the development
of technologies like the harvester with cutter and collecting net, depulping
machine, mechanical pili nut cracker, testa removal machine and oil

The pili depulping machine has a capacity of 60-70 kg/hr. It has a depulping
efficiency of 80-85 percent and run by a 5 horsepower gasoline engine and 1
horsepower electric motor. It has a fuel consumption of 1.36 li/hr. The cost
of the technology ranges from P40,000-P48,000.

The mechanical pili nut cracker, on one hand, can crack 204 pieces of pili nut
in a minute (117 kg/hr) with a cracking efficiency averaging 93 percent with
89 percent whole kernel recovery.

It has a six-blade cracker powered by a 1 horsepower electric motor. The
motor's energy consumption is 0.41 kwhr. One person operates the cracker.

The prototype was tested in Casiguran and Irosin in Sorsogon and
Guinobatan, Albay using three major parameters, the cracking capacity,
efficiency and economic viability.

The result of the testing revealed that the mechanical pili nut cracker is
economically viable. The investment cost of P40, 000 can be recovered after
more than one year of using the technology.

`We recognize our partnership with PHilMech. If not for PHilMech we will not
be able to identify the needs of the industry. Because of our collaboration,
we developed these pili processing technologies,` shares Malinis.

The accredited manufacturer of these technologies is also a Bicolano, Engr.
Salvador Albia of Tropics-Agro Industries in Naga City.

After the development of the pili depulping machine and mechanical pili nut
cracker, Malinis continuously engaged himself in research and development
works to come up with more mechanized technologies for pili.

Recently, Malinis and his team developed the system to produce pili pulp
virgin oil, flour and coloring powder from pili.

The 65-70 percent of pili nut fruit is usually discarded as waste. This waste
can be converted into useful products like oil, powder and food coloring.

`We can get the oil, coloring powder, and flour from the pili pulp. The pili
pulp oil is used for cooking and it is better than olive oil, while the flour is
used in making cookies and brownies,` says Engr. Roger Salalima, instructor
at the Bicol University Polangui Campus.

Adopting the system designed by Malinis and his group will turn the pili pulp
into profit. It can also open new business opportunities for more Bicolanos.

If the Bicol Region has a production of 1,661,517 kg of pili, it can produce
103,014 kg of oil and if sold at P100/kg this amounts to P10.30 million.

For flour, it can produce 101.36 tons and if sold at P20,000/ton, this costs
P2.03 million. Also, the said total production can make 66.46 tons of coloring
powder equivalent to 1.66 million if sold at P25,000/ton.

Malinis also revealed that pili shell and pulp has many uses. The shell which
is the hard coating of pili kernel can be used as fuel, key chain, decor,
handicrafts and charcoal briquettes.

On the other hand, the pulp is being used as flour, puree sauce, appetizer,
dessert, animal feed, oil for food, lubrication, soap, perfume, and other
cosmetic products.

`The industry has been waiting for these technologies. If pili growers can
adopt these proper postharvest processing systems, there will be significant
increase in the income of the pili growers because this will enable them to
develop their own micro-enterprise selling pili products at prices they set,`
Malinis said.

Malinis admitted that the industry needs more attention to achieve its full
development. He, however, is optimistic that the partnership with the
private sector and other government agencies will bring the boost that the
pili industry needs to become one of the profitable industries in the country.

Dry method pili depulper, faster pilinut
cracker developed
By Cet Dematera | Updated May 26, 2002 - 12:00am
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Planters and traders of pili (Canarium Ovatum), an indigenous nut tree largely found in Bicol Region, could now
probably expect better business prospects following the successful development of a dry-process pili depulping
machine and a pilinut cracker five times faster than the traditional cracking device.

The first public demonstration on how the pili depulping machine and pilinut cracker operate was performed at
the Technology Demonstration Center (TDC) in Gubat, Sorsogon last Tuesday by a group of researchers
headed by Arnulfo P. Malinis, an agricultural engineer from the Bicol University College of Agriculture and
Forestry (BUCAF) based on Guinobatan, Albay and experts from the Bureau of Postharvest Research and
Extension (BPRE) based in Muoz, Nueva Ecija.

Malinis said that one of the machines his group had developed could crack at least 197 pieces of pilinut in a
minute, a sped around five times faster than the traditional of merely 40 nuts per minutes.

"And with this machine, the percentage of crashed pili kernel is very minimal compared to the manual or
traditional method, and the workers are not exposed to hand injuries," the Bicolano machine designer said.

The pili depulping machine, on the other hand, can depulp at least 150 kilograms of fresh pilinuts in an hour,"
Malinis said.

Malinis said the machine could depulp newly harvested pili fruits, or even without subjecting them to water-
soaking, a traditional method presently being done by pili farmers and traders.

The Bicolano designer said that the machine’s distinct feature from the earlier developed pili depulpers is
that is has the capability to depulp pili fruits even without subjecting these fruits into water-soaking to soften the
pulp before machine-processing.

"But this method put the pili pulp into wastage while the kernel is also oftentimes damaged because of soaking.
These affect the quality of pili by-products, such as the pili sweets," Malinis added. "The newly-designed
machine tries to preserve the quality of the kernel and save the pulp for other uses."

At present, prices of pili fruits in the market here ranges from P5.50 to P6.50 per kilo while the nuts without pulp
are sold at P16 to P18 per kilo. But the pili kernel costs P180 to P220 a kilo.

Jose Navarro, chairman of the Sorsogon Integrated Hybrid Seed Producers Multi-Purpose Cooperative
(SIMPCO), a group of farmers engaged in pili and other root-crop farming in Bicol, revealed that during peak
season and when the supply of pili is already scarce, a kilo of pili kernel reaches up to P650.

Navarro expressed optimism that the development of such machine could greatly help the pili industry and
improve the income of both the pili farmers and traders.

"Wala kang makikitang bunga ng kahoy dito sa Bicol o kahit sa ibang bahagi ng Pilipinas na ang isang kiloay
umaabot ng P650. Kaya kung mas mapapaayos natin ang industriya ng pili sa bansa, marahil dito na tayo
yayaman," Navarro said.

Based on the study conducted by the Bicol Consortium for Agriculture and Resources Research (BCARRD)
called "Benchmark Survey and pili industry in the Bicol Region," Sorsogon has the most number of fruit-bearing
pili trees with 6,615, or 44 percent of the total number; followed by Albay with 5,204 or 34.82 percent;
Camarines Sur with 1,332 or 8.92 percent; Camarines Norte with 1,200, or 8.03 percent; and Catanduanes with
594, or 3.9 percent. Masbate has very minimal pili trees during the survey period.

The same study revealed that there were at least 2,000 pili farmers in Bicol with the highest number came from
Sorsogon with 1,023, followed by Albay with 569.

The study estimated that some 63-million pilinuts would be produced in Bicol by the end of 2003.

At present, Bicol is known for producing pili by-products merely for local or domestic consumption.

DOST V develops pili pulp oil extraction

Friday, 18 July 2008 14:30
The Department of Science and Technologys provincial office in Sorsogon developed a simple method of
producing oil from pilinut pulp. The process extracts oil from freshly harvested pilinuts using minimal heat and
simple cooking and filtration tools. Because the process retains the aroma and natural green color of pili pulp, the
resulting oil can be considered of premium or virgin quality.
DOST-Sorsogon provincial office initiated the development of the technology as an alternative to the process
introduced by National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at University of the Philippines in Los
Baos, which uses enzymes in extraction and chemicals in refining pili pulp oil. This technology, while more
efficient, is rather complicated and requires substantial investment and may not be suitable in a micro or village
scale pilinut-processing venture.
There is also a need to satisfy the demand of local organic groups, which took interest in the product for naturally
processed, chemical-free, and virgin quality pili pulp oil for food, health, and cosmetic applications.
Oil Yield
Using manual extraction, the technology was tested using different varieties of pili obtained from different areas in
Sorsogon province. Oil yield, computed as percentage by weight of whole fresh pilinut, varies widely and is clearly
associated with the variety of pilinut. However, the maximum yield recorded so far is about 6 percent, which
translates to about 65 ml/kg of fresh whole nuts.
Establishing the varietal differences in oil yield requires further study. But oil recovery is expected to increase if a
suitable mechanical pulp press or extractor becomes available.
Oil quality
Analyses conducted at DOST V laboratory showed that the oil produced by the process has a very low free fatty
acid (FFA) content of 0.06% and moisture content (MC) of only 0.04%, which favors a longer shelf life of the
Chemical and Nutritional Analyses
Chemical and nutritional analyses of pili pulp oil are very similar to olive oil. However, pili pulp oil have more beta
carotene, a known vitamin A source, and carotenoids, which makes it more nutritious than olive oil.
Other benefits
Pili oil has always been featured in traditional medicines and herbal remedies in Bicol region where it abounds.
Indigenous knowledge gathered attest to its efficacy in treating skin diseases such as scabies and de-worming
capability for livestock such as pigs and chicken. Recent testimony to its ability to cure diabetes was published by
Fernando Simon of YAMANKO enterprises.
Some groups that advocate and promote organic products reportedly believe in the potential health benefits of pili
pulp oil, which they claim could equal or even surpass that of virgin coconut oil.
Technology Transfer
The simplicity of the technology allowed for its easy diffusion through technology transfer trainings to pili
processors, traders, and farmers in Sorsogon. Since October 2004, DOST Sorsogon provided technology transfer
training to the following:
Melinda Yee [proprietor of Leslie Pili Products, Sorsogon City]
Pili Producers Association of Sorsogon (PPAS)
City Agriculture Officers/personnel of Sorsogon City LGU
The Lewis College
Prieto Diaz LGU
Gubat LGU
Developing the industry
The introduction of the technology generated renewed interest among local stakeholders and is paving the way for
the establishment of the pili pulp oil production industry in Sorsogon. At present, raw pili pulp oil sells at P100 per
liter. In support of the industrys development, DOST V is currently working to develop technologies on mechanical
extraction and other non-chemical approach in oil refining. (Engr. J erry N. Asuncion, S&T Media Service)

BU develops modern nut cracker to boost Bicols pili industry
September 1, 2009 10:29 am
By Danny O. Calleja
GUINOBATAN, Albay, Sept. 1 The need for appropriate equipment in processing pili nut prompted the Bicol
University College of Agriculture and Forestry (BUCAF) here to develop a modern mechanical tool that makes
cracking of pili nut faster, efficient and more economical.
As pili nut is indigenous only in the Philippines, the government has long since recognized its economic importance in
the country as an export crop that ranks second to cashew nuts and has been a good stand-in for macadamia nuts.
Pili is produced and processed mostly in the Bicol region.
As the demand for pili products continues to grow, the supply is hardly met. One main problem of the industry is in
post-production operation and processing. Most of the workers still resort to traditional de-shelling using bolo.
This difficulty in processing pili nuts has been forcing the farmers to sell their pili at very low prices to traders making
them get most of the benefit.
Engr. Arnulfo Malinis, head of the BUCAF team that developed the nut cracker, said that with its use, the farmers are
assured of an additional income of 1.50 per kilo of pili nut.
With this technology, the adoption of a village level pili-processing system is now being slowly established. Farmers
are trained to use the machine and other equipment for postharvest processing, thus enabling them to develop their
own micro-enterprise to sell pili products at prices they set, Malinis said.
Farmers are able to sell pili not as fruit but as kernel at a higher price. Also, the mechanization of the de-shelling
process will create job opportunities for the unemployed women in the region, he said.
The prototype of the equipment is composed of a six-blade cracker powered by a one-horsepower electric motor with
an energy consumption of 0.41 kilowatt per hour. The machine consists of five major parts: the cracking unit,
conveying unit, stand/frame, transmission, and prime mover.
The prototype was tested with the help of local cooperators from the municipalities of Casiguran and Irosin in
Sorsogon, and Guinobatan, Albay using three major parameters: cracking capacity, the cracking efficiency and
economic viability.
Technology verification of the prototype showed that on the average, it can crack 204 pieces of pili nut in a minute or
117 kilograms per hour with a cracking efficiency averaging 93 percent with 89 percent whole kernel recovery, Malinis
It is a one-man operated machine that could crack bags of dried pili nuts faster than the other developed nut cracker.
For eight hours a day, this simple machine could crack 16 bags of dried nuts. The result is comparative to the output
of four persons in one day.
The mechanical pili nut cracker also proved to be economically viable. To produce the machine an outlay amounting
to P 40,000 is needed.
The return of investment is guaranteed at 53 percent after more than a year of use, he added.
The equipment was developed in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Postharvest Research
and Extension (DA-BPRE), Tropics Agro-Industries (KOLBI) and DA-Regional Field Unit (RFU) 5.
The first prototype pili nut cracker was developed in 1995 by the Agricultural Engineering Department of the
Camarines Sur State College (CSSAC) in Pili town. It used steel rollers to crack the pili shells. Unfortunately, the
shells were cracked in irregular manner, thus eventually damaging the kernel, according to DA regional executive
director Jose Dayao.
The Catanduanes State College Laboratory High School (CSCLHS) also developed a four-part pili nut cutter made
from indigenous materials.
The four-part cutter consisted of a framework, case, hammer, and blade.
Result showed great improvement in the efficiency of de-shelling. It was 80 percent more time efficient than the
manual method. However, the developed cracker was still insufficient to deliver the acceptable capacity.
There were several pili nut crackers fabricated after the first cracker from the steel rollers-operated machine to the
mechanically-operated pili nut cracker. But there were still problems in terms of efficiency or capacity, either the
shells are unevenly cut, thus damaging the kernel or the cracking capacity is low, Dayao said.
Other problems included the feeding and conveying of pili nuts into the machine and the limited number of skilled
workers to crack pili, he added. (PNA)