About 20-30% of food grains, 30-50% vegetables, herbs, and fruits are lost right on the farm before they reach the market. Food security is under threat due to post harvest loss of tubers, grains, vegetables, spices, fruits, and herbs. Even fishes and meat are not left out of this loss.
The most viable, cost-efficient (in the long term) and safe method of eliminating post-harvest loss of fruits and vegetables is Solar Drying.
Basically, Solar drying employs natural convection, forced convection, solar radiation,a the greenhouse effect for drying of materials. The benefits of solar drying for the post harvest management of fruits and vegetables cannot be overemphasized.
Benefits of Solar Drying
- Solar drying preserves food materials for proper storage. The food material nutrients, taste, colour essential oil and other inherent properties are better preserved by solar drying.
- Solar drying is more hygienic and efficient than traditional open-air (sun) drying.
- Solar drying shields food material from dust, insects, birds, roaming pests, and microbial contamination.
- Solar drying prevents spoilage, improves product hygiene, storability, availability, marketing (exportable), and profitability.
- Solar drying improves farmers’ income, food safety, food security, and food availability.
- Materials that can be solar-dried are but not limited to; Moringa leaves, Chilli pepper, tomato, Okra, Ugu leaves, Melon, Thyme, Coriander, Stevia, Tea, Curry, Basil, lemongrass, Garlic, Ginger, Tumeric, Herbs, Spices, Crayfish, Melon, Cassava chips, Yam chips, Potatoes chips, Plantain chips, Banana slices, Bitter leaves, Hibiscus flowers (Zobo), Utazi, Melon, Mango slices, Black pepper, Coffee, Cocoa beans, Maize, Fish, meats, livestock feed, etc.
Types of Solar Dryer
Basically, we have Passive Solar Dryer (PSD) and Active Solar Dryer (ASD). PSD also known as Natural Convection Solar Dryer uses only solar radiation (sunlight) and natural convection (or circulation) for drying materials. It has small drying capacity. However, ASD also known as Forced Convection Solar Dryer uses solar radiation and forced convection (facilitated by heat extractor/Blowers). It has large drying capacity, dry faster, more controllable and reliable. ASD can be incorporated with external heater that uses electricity (or generating set) or gas (or biogas), etc.
The solar dryer can also be classified according to shape and they include Parabolic Greenhouse Solar Dryer, Greenhouse Solar Dryer, Box Solar Dryer and Tunnel Solar Dryer.
At Kaspharyn Solutions Nigeria, we fabricate and build Parabolic greenhouse solar dryer, Greenhouse solar dryer, Tunnel solar dryer, Box solar dryer, Hybrid box solar dryer and Electric Cabinet Dehydrator.