Africa is one of the world’s top natural resource and agricultural producers. As a result, many countries are looking to develop agriculture with higher efficiency to boost their competitiveness in the global market.
As a result, some nations have turned towards alternative solutions such as drying technology for agriculture. Drying technology for agriculture is also known as drying houses or solar drying systems. It involves using solar dryers to remove excess moisture from crops without affect the flavor or nutrients of the produce.
How Does Solar Dryer For Agriculture Work?
Solar dryers use the sun’s energy to evaporate water from the air and leave behind a dry, powdery product. In most cases, this product is very little moisture.
While solar dryers are easy to set up and operate, they are not applicable for all crops. For instance, certain fruits and vegetables cannot be dried such as watermelons, avocados, grapes, etc. To maximize the use of solar dryers, it is essential to select the right size and type of dryer.
Uses of solar dryer
You can use it to dry veggies, fruits and meat such as;
- Fish and omena
- Nuts and seeds
Materials used for construction
- Clear UV polythene
- Wood or metal for the frame
- Insect net
- Profile and w-wire
- Black polythene
- Fans for heat extraction (Not included in final cost)
Types of solar dryer from Greenscope
- Active – Wind is circulated using fans. Dry more quickly than passive dryers.
- Passive – Use natural wind movement.
They can be portable or commercial. Portable dryers are smaller in size and are commonly found in homesteads.
Why should you use a solar dryer?
- Retain the quality and quantity of the produce.
- Reduces losses. Once the food is dried and stored it can be used at a later date.
- Minimize pollution.
- It is affordable. The materials are sourced locally hence the low cost of production.
- It is safe and hygienic. The food is dried in a controlled environment. It is less likely to be attacked by pests and mold.
What to consider before acquiring a solar dryer.
- What food is the dryer going to be used for?
- What quantity of food is going to be dried? This will determine the size of the dryer being used.
- Climatic conditions of your area.
- Is the food going to be stored for a long period or is it going to be shipped to the market for consumption? This will determine the dryness of the final product.
Solar dryer prices in Kenya