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Kenyan fruit/ dryer earns Energy Globe Award 2007

John Maina from Kenya has won the Energy Globe Award 2007 for implementing solar energy ovens for drying vegetables and fruits. By using the oven, local farmers are able to increase their harvest significantly, without harming the environment. 30-40% of the country's vegetables and fruits are lost due to poor post-harvest handling. The lack of firewood, which is necessary for drying and treatment of durable goods, is one of the major reasons for the loss.

Since 2002 SCODE (Sustainable Community Development Services) has employed a solar dryer in Kenya for the drying of harvesting produce. The advantages are obvious : solar energy is free and available virtually everywhere. The fresh produce can be made durable in a cheap way and market value will be increased. Through the fast drying process the farmers can raise harvesting productivity by up to 50%, therefore generating additional income. The time needed for collecting firewood before can now be used for various other activities, and deforestation is reduced as well.

Currently 30 solar dryers have been installed and 920 farmers have been trained in their use. Thirty craftsmen have also been trained in the construction and installation of the dryers. The project contributes to an overall improvement of living conditions, family nutrition, environment protection and income generation. At the moment it is being implemented in the Rift Valley in Kenya and has the potential to be duplicated in other areas.

The Energy Globe, a prestigious environmental prize, awards outstanding projects from all around the world in the categories earth, fire, water, air and youth.

Source: African Agriculture

Publication date: 5/29/2007


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