The Developmental Association for Renewable Energies (DARE) has unveiled a newly developed, low-cost solar bubble dryer (SBD) for Nigerian farmers aimed at reducing post-harvest losses and improving the shelf life of agricultural produce.
DARE Director Yahaya Ahmed, while addressing journalists in Kaduna, noted that the drying technology was produced to help farmers improve post-harvest handling in order to tackle losses associated with drying and move beyond the traditional sun drying process.
The SBD represents a step away from the conventional method of drying in which producers spread their harvested products out across open land. The SBD benefits farmers by eliminating the re-wetting of grains by rain, as well as any losses due to animals, insects, spillage or cars running over grain that has been strewn onto roads.
It is a mobile device completely independent from fuel and the power grid with a very low operating cost. It comes in different sizes, with current models having the capacity for half-ton and 1-ton batches.
According to Ahmed, the device can be used for successfully drying tomatoes, mangos, apples, grains and others crops and that it has a life span of over 20 years when properly used and maintained.
He explained that drying with the SBD is the cheapest and the best way to preserve all farm produce in Nigeria, and appealed to farmers to embrace the technology in order to curb their post-harvest losses.
Piman Hoffman, a climatologist with African Climate Reporters, lauded DARE’s effort in developing the technology, which is intended to make life easier for farmers and revolutionize agricultural activities in the country.
He called on the federal and state governments to support the initiative and encourage local farmers to acquire the skills needed to maintain the machine.