Solar dryers

Using simple technology to preserve food

Charles Mureithi is a teacher and farmer in Laikipia District, Kenya. He read a Practical Action publication that had been distributed to his local Community Knowledge Centre and has used it to build a solar dryer to provide green vegetables all year round for his family. "After I read the book with information on solar driers, I explained it to a 'Jua Kali' artisan who was able to fabricate the drier for me" he explained.

According to Mr Mureithi, the piece of equipment is of great significant to his home; an area prone to long dry spells. "It has affected our expenditure budget on food significantly" he said. "These days it is not easy to get greens vegetables in this area during the dry season which is becoming more and more extended due to the changes in weather patterns."

To him and the family, the drier has been a means of maintaining the flow of green vegetables throughout the year and making sure none go to waste. "Nowadays, we harvest the vegetables, cut them into pieces, dry them in the solar drier and pack them for use during the dry season," he explained.

"Our neighbours have also embraced the technology", says Mrs Murethi. "A few who cannot afford to fabricate the equipment are allowed to use our equipment for free."

Practical Action works in partnership with the Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) in Kenya to distribute publications and other information on small-scale appropriate technologies through local Community Knowledge Centres. The results from this venture have been immense, with the Murethi's solar drier being just one example.

Practical Answers technical briefs on solar dyers and other food-drying techniques

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