The Sun Barter
Establishing a dried fruits and vegetable network by using solar dryers and an SMS market platform for farmers in Nigeria.
EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA
A very known and yet under-utilized process for preserving food when refrigeration is not possible, is
dehydration. Dehydration (drying) using the sun has the advantage of being relatively cheap because a
renewable and unlimited energy source is used and it requires little technological skill. Therefore, it can
be easily applied by smallholders settled in remote areas.
The initiative is to encourage farmers to process seasonally abundant fruits and vegetables into dried products by using mixed mode dryers and sell them through an interactive SMS service.
After drying , the products are packaged and sealed in plastic bags (using hand sealers) ready to be stored and sold notwithstanding the transportation distance. The farmers via the SMS platform notify buyers on the type of product, location, quantity and price. Therefore, interested buyers on the platform can make orders. However, farmers can also sell the products within their local markets.
Drying fruits and vegetables, together with the interactive SMS platform, solves the problem of food loss at post harvest level(due to bad transportation and poor storage), creates a value added product instead of waste, connects buyers directly to the farmers (reducing monopoly of middlemen) and positively impacts seasonal food insecurity while meeting local food preferences.
A mixed mode dryer is made up of a solar collector and a cabinet. Air is heated by the sun through the glass in the solar collector and it flows up to dry the products in the cabinet. The solar collector is insulated to maintain the heat and the storage material used is sand. This method is slower than direct drying but ensures homogeneous colour of the product. It is passive, therefore requiring no extra energy input. Therefore, fruits high in water content such as tomato take longer to dry.
Small and medium scale farmers: They can diversify their markets with the dried product, thereby increasing economic status and reducing waste on their fields.
Retailers and Manufacturers: They have direct contact with farmers via the platform and know the locations in the country where to expect it. For the manufacturers, they have semi- processed product, which reduces their production processes compared to fresh products.
Consumers: They have access to seasonal fruits year round.
WHERE WILL YOUR IDEA BE IMPLEMENTED?
ARE YOU IMPLEMENTING IN AN ELIGIBLE COUNTRY?
EXPERTISE IN SECTOR
I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for less than one year
EXPERIENCE IN IMPLEMENTATION COUNTRY(IES)
Yes, for more than one year.
TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU!
I and my colleague Camilla are graduates of Wageningen University in biotechnology and developmental studies respectively. This idea was first developed by the four people in the video but is continued by the two of us presently. Our drive is to curb food wastage and are open to collaborations.
A Summary of the Idea. Website www.thesunbarter.nl