Locally fabricated dryer produced in Nigeria for the post-harvest management of root and tuber crops has received commendation from the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), University of Greenwich, United Kingdom.
This applaud came as a result of the development of the flash dryer meant to dry the root and tuber crops to reduce high moisture contents common with this category of crops.
The Institute acknowledged that this value addition device has enhanced the life of smallholder farmers thus enable them to manage their crops besides their storage for a longer period of time to ensure better food security to maximize profit margins.
About 30 – 50% loss of the root and tuber has been estimated to come from the Post-harvest lost as one of the impediments of agricultural production in the tropical countries. Development of this dryer will improve the shelf life for better control over the substantial losses associated with the handling, processing and storage of root and tuber crops like cassava, potato, yam, and cocoyam etc.
The fabricator, Mr Idowu Adeoya who had developed the dryer was contacted in 2006 by the specialists from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), led by the Country Manager of Cassava: Adding Value for Africa (CAVA), Professor Lateef Sanni, and a food processing specialist from NRI, Dr Andrew Graffham, from the Natural Resources Institute (NRI), University of Greenwich, United Kingdom.
The FUNAAB collaborates with the NRI to work on the improvement of the dryer that includes the reduction of fuel usage from 374 to 65 litres per tonne of dried products, improvement in the output of dryers from approximately 100kg an hour to around 330kg an hour of the dried product, and an increased efficiency from 11 to 55 per cent.
The project led to an improvement of dryers had been brought about by Cassava: Adding Value for Africa (CAVA), and facilitated by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation executed through multiple partnerships.
Currently, there is an on-going initiative in Ghana by CAVA to reciprocate this success story with the development of the localized small scale, fuel-efficient flash dryer.