The golden apple snail (Pomacea Tcanalicuta), locally known as golden kuhol, was first introduced into Philippine farms in 1983 with the hope of providing additional protein source for dietary improvement of many poor families. But its promising potential turned into a menace for farmers when the golden apple snail became a prolific pest on rice fields. It grows and increases rapidly, voraciously feeding on any succulent greens that include newly transplanted rice seedlings. It destroys farms, livelihood, and has become a burden to rice production.
Although considered a threat in rice production, many farmers are (again) looking at the golden kuhol at a different perspective. The golden kuhol being remarkably nutritious and easy to digest, farmers have discovered it to be a good source of supplementary feed for livestock and poultry. It stimulates fast growth and reproduction. The snail meat provides protein and energy-giving fat while the shell contains calcium, phosphorous, vitamins, and minerals. Now, a lot of farmers do not see these golden kuhol as a threat to the fields but rather an opportunity to improve their livelihood.
Golden kuhol are collected from the fields, crushed, mixed with raw rice bran, and then fed right away to the animals. There are times when animals are fed with pure golden apple snail straight from the fields. Studies showed that healthier and heavier livestock are produced using this feeding scheme. Ducks fed with snail meal can attain more or less than 70% increase in egg production rate. Further, due to its high nutrition, snail meal could replace fish or meat and bone meal in broiler diets.
Opportunities abound, but farmers continue to ignore them due to the laborious and time-consuming task of manually crushing the snails. But as R&D continues to find solution to farmers’ problem, researchers from the Department of Engineering and Technology of the Camarines Sur State Agricultural College led by Engr. Marife L. Pesino designed and developed a mechanically operated golden kuhol grinder-crusher. This machine does not only minimize laborious work of crushing but it also saves time from manually picking the snails from the fields and different farm locations. It also gives opportunity for farmers to culture golden kuhol in one specific area mainly for feed supplement.
The opportunity of converting golden kuhol into useful feeds also saves a lot of money for our farmers, as they do not have to buy expensive molluscicide to control it, making it environment-friendly. Likewise, by converting the snails into feed supplements the farmers spend less for expensive feeds for their livestock and poultry. This likewise reduces the need for imported fishmeal feeds and save the country’s foreign exchange.
Generally, farm equipment and machineries i.e., tractor, water pump, fruit loader, thresher, etc., are never gender-friendly. Women and children who also work in the farm use machines that are laborious and strenuous to operate. But with the new kuhol crusher-grinder, which was designed and conceptualized by a lady engineer, crushing and grinding are no longer tedious as before. The machine is mobile, making it easy to transport.
The design and concept of the crusher-grinder was based on the existing hammer mill machines used in efficiently reducing sizes of feed materials but is comparably more efficient. The machine is low-cost and affordable as it is made from indigenous materials.
The golden kuhol crusher-grinder has seven main parts: mainframe assembly, hopper assembly, upper rotor housing assembly, and lower rotor housing assembly. Its rotor assembly consists of a swinging and rotating hammer blades that crush and grind golden kuhol through a replaceable perforated screen. The design of the golden kuhol crusher-grinder is not only economical and environment-friendly but more important, the machine is gender-friendly.
Performance tests showed that the machine could efficiently and perfectly crush and grind golden kuhol when operated at 1500 rpm and 2070 rpm, respectively, with the desired particle size recommended for optimum feed digestibility.
For more information, contact:
Bureau of Agricultural Research
Department of Agriculture
3/F RDMIC Bldg., Visayas Ave.
cor. Elliptical Rd., Diliman Quezon City 1104
Trunklines: 928-8505 or 927-0226
Local Nos. 2043, 2042, 2044
E-mail: [email protected]
Dept. of Science and Technology
Rm. 303 DOST Bldg., DOST Complex,
Gen. Santos Ave., Bicutan, Taguig City 1631
Telephone Nos: (632) 837-20-71 to 82
author: Maria Lizbeth Severa J. Baro of www.bar.gov.ph