Increase your produce value through sun drying
Natural Solar dryers in Kenya are technologies that use the power of the sun to dry produce during periods of plenty for later use. Natural Solar dryers in Kenya are used to dry vegetables, fruits, cereals, fish, potatoes and meat. They are environmentally safe, use less energy and dry produce much faster. The drying technology, if embraced, will go a long way in curbing food shortages in Africa
How commercial solar dryers work
Vegetable drying machines in Kenya work by heating the produce directly or indirectly. In direct drying, the sun heats the produce directly while in indirect drying, a black surface is heated which then transfers hot air that heats the produce.
Advantages of solar dryers in Kenya
- They dry fruits and vegetables very fast compared to drying in the open. For instance, if it takes 7 days in the open, It will take you 1-2 days with a dryer.
- There is less risk of spoilage because the drying process is very fast.
- Solar dried fruits are also good for health
- Food is protected from contamination.
- Solar dried fruits, vegetables and meat are very appetizing.
Types of Commercial Solar Dryers in Kenya
solar dryers for agricultural products can be metallic or wooden. Metallic solar dryers are the most common in Kenya. They are made of galvanized steel which are made to last long. The cover is made of clear UV treated greenhouse polythene sheet 200 microns in thickness. It has shelves for drying the fruits, meat, fish and vegetables. The shelves can have different levels depending on the quantity to be dried.
Hybrid Solar Dryers
A hybrid solar dryer combines both natural sun drying and other heat transfer systems. Thus, the drying process can be continued in off sun shine hours.
Grekkon Limited recently pioneered in the construction of a hybrid sun dryer in Taita Taveta, Kenya whose main components were:
- Metallic natural dryer complete with shelves, UV nectarine cover and black flooring
- Fan system for removal of excess heat
- Solar system with batteries to store heat.
Heat stored is then released when outside temperatures drop. This ensures continuous drying even at night and during cold seasons.
Solar Dryer Materials
The floor is made of a black covering to absorb much heat. It has also been designed in such a way that there is air flowing in, while much heat is retained.
Before drying, fruits and vegetables have to be chopped into small pieces to increase the surface area for drying.
Different sizes have different capacities. You can have dryers drying from small quantities to tonnes of produce. The choice will depend on what is being dried or the demand.
Solar Drying by Crop
- Mango solar dryer: Used for drying mangoes
- Vegetable solar dryers: Used for drying vegetables
- Banana solar dryer: for drying bananas into fine crisps
- Gooseberry solar dryer: For drying gooseberry fruits.
Solar Dryer Prices in Kenya
The prices of solar dryers in Kenya will depend on the type and size. Generally, solar dryer prices in Kenya range between Kes. 50,000 to Kes. 130,000 for non hybrid metallic.
|Solar Dryer Size||Drying Capacity||Price of Solar Dryer|
|1.5m x 1.5m x 1.5m||40-50kgs||KES 70,000|
|2m x 2m x 2m||50-90kgs||KES 80,000|
|2m x 3m x 2m||80-100kgs||KES 90,000|
|2m x 4m x 2m||90-110kgs||KES 110,000|
|2m x 5m x 2m||100-130kgs||KES 130,000|
|L X W x H|
READ MORE ABOUT METALLIC GREEN HOUSES