ITS Campus News – The potential for the shallot commodity could be threatened with a decrease in quality due to the current unfavorable weather. Helping to overcome this, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS) through KKN Community Services (Abmas) created an instore drying tool with the application of smart solar panels to maintain quality shallots.
Representing ITS Community Services (Abmas) Team, Dr. Suyatno, S.Si., M.Si., said that the cause of the decrease in the quality of shallots was due to unfavorable weather during the drying process, so that the shallots were half cooked. This was investigated due to weather that was too hot, as well as humidity during storage which resulted in onions becoming deflated, rotting, growing mushrooms, and growing shoots.
Limited tools and technology for post-harvest results also cause shallots to be sold directly without going through the storage process first. This causes farmers to not be able to sell shallots with quality quality according to the desired time. “That’s why we are trying to offer a solution for implementing storage with the help of solar panels as the main source of electricity,” he said.
The storage based on instore drying is considered capable of drying and storing post-harvest results, as well as maintaining the quality of shallots for a certain time in accordance with the Indonesian National Standard (SNI). Not only that, the advantage of this tool is that it can reduce the damage of shallots from 3.9 percent to 0.83 percent per one bunch with an average weight of 2-3 kilograms.
Especially with the use of smart solar panels to run the system without the need for PLN electricity, which of course will reduce operational costs. This system also consists of a temperature sensor which is controlled using Arduino and will be controlled by a microcontroller so that it runs automatically making it easier for the fostered partners. “That way, the effective storage time, which usually only lasts four weeks, has increased to six months,” explained Suyatno.
Furthermore, according to Suyatno, the capacity of this designed instore drying will later be developed from 10 kilograms for a prototype into a tool that can accommodate shallots in quantities of up to 100 kilograms or even 1 ton. So, with land owned by related partners, it can accommodate the entire harvest of shallots with quality quality results.
KKN Community Services (Abmas) ITS which was carried out in the shallot producing village, Kajang Village, Nganjuk District was assisted by 18 students from Physics Department ITS. This activity is targeted to be able to answer all the challenges of onion farmers. Starting from the use of products to help maintain the quality of the quality shallot yields, to increase the income of shallot farmers. It is hoped that this innovation can also support the government in improving the quality of shallots to be used as a quality export ingredient.
At the end, Suyatno also expressed his hope that the research being conducted would continue to be developed in order to help farmers become more prosperous. He expects that students will care more about agricultural environment and contribute during planting, tending, and harvesting. “We have a responsibility to farmers by solving their problems,” he concluded (ITS PR)
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