Solar drying - fast and hygienic
Using a solar dryer shaped like a polythene dome, farmers in Muranga district, central Kenya, are drying their fruit and vegetable crops and making high-value products. Thinly sliced fruit, such as mangoes, are packaged and sold as snacks - an increasingly popular product among urban shoppers. Vegetables such as beans are pre-cooked and then dried; the dried product can be turned into a meal in just a few minutes, ideal for busy families with little time. The farmers are working with a private company, Azuri Health Ltd, which has introduced the solar drying system and also markets the products. Managing director, Tei Mukunya, explains more about the drying process to Eric Kadenge.
Every year, enormous amounts of fruit and vegetables go to waste, because farmers are simply unable to get them to market, or can't sell them quickly enough when they do. But preserving fruit and vegetables, for example by drying, has many advantages. For one reason, it actually adds value - a preserved product is worth more than a raw one. Also, it allows farmers to spread their earnings across the year, selling at times when prices are higher - and they can also improve their own family's diet, by keeping some back for times when fresh produce is hard to find.
But to preserve foods safely and hygienically, most people need some training and equipment. In central Kenya, for example, farmers in Muranga district have come together to dry their produce, and have been working with a private food marketing company, Azuri Health Ltd. Azuri's managing director, Tei Mukunya, told Eric Kadenge more about the process, beginning at the place where the fruit and vegetables are dried.
Tei Mukunya of Azuri Health Ltd, which is working with farmers in Muranga, Kenya, to produce dried fruit and vegetable products. She was speaking to Eric Kadenge.
Making the most of it:
The solar dryer described in this interview is quite big - suitable for drying large amounts of produce. But your listeners may be interested in smaller types as well, and often it's possible to make these at relatively low cost. Why not research a local, low-cost design of solar dryer and make your own report on it?
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