Fruits and vegetables are the most nutritious food in the world, yet 40% according to FAO are lost in the post-harvest period, due to poor preservation methods in Africa. The Sparky dryer utilizes harvest waste to dehydrate food in 5hrs, extending its shelf life from 2 days to 2 years.
The problem we aim to solve
Missing nutrients bite wide and deep. Education levels drop (malnourished children concentrate poorly); earning-power weakens. Even marriage chances wane: malnourished boys marry women of lower educational levels when they grow up. Common responses include handing out vitamin pills and fortifying common foods with micronutrients (such as putting iodine in salt). But policymakers are now asking whether farming could do more to improve nutrition.
Sparky is a low tech thermo-dehydrator that reduces the current 40% post-harvest losses in fruits and vegetables to less than 20%, by extending the shelf-life of produce from 2 days to2 years.
It is powered by harvest waste from the garden such as stems, branches and leaves as bio fuel. The Sparky Dryer is designed to have a high performing heat exchange from the burn chamber to the drying chamber through stainless steel walls.” There is a thick layer of insulation that minimizes heat loss to the environment. The heat temperature is controlled in the Sparky dryer ranging from 40 to 70 degrees Celsius through the centrifugal fan at the top of the unit, and the air flow inlets in the heat chamber regulates the heat temperature. To use the dryer, fruits and vegetables to be dried are sliced and put in the trays in the drying chamber. When 0.2 kg of briquettes are set into fire in the gasifier stove to heat up the lava rocks to a red-hot temperature, fruits and vegetables with less water content takes typically 2 hours to dehydrate and the produce with high water content takes typically 5 hours to dehydrate. The Sparky Dryer dehydrates food 5 times faster than solar dryers and 10 times faster than the traditional open sun drying method while maintaining the nutrients in the food. With Sparky, a farmer can dry up to 100kg of produce within 5 hours with only 2kg of bio fuel, whether it is raining or shining.
The innovativeness of our approach
Unlike the current thermo dryers in the market, Sparky produces heat by burning harvest bio waste that burns under gasification process with zero CO2 emission, making it very environmentally friendly. With Sparky’s stack effect heat distribution, it uses very little fuel for a good amount of food to dehydrate. A 2kg of biofuel dehydrates 100kg of vegetables in 5 hours, making it more reliable and convenient than all the available dryers in the market.
Technologies and Methods
Sparky is more reliable, clean and convenient than open sun drying and is not weather dependent like solar dryers on the market. We earn revenue through direct sales of Domestic dryer to small holder’s farmers. We have additional plans to install our commercial industrialized dryers in local communities and market places for rentals. Eventually, Sparky shall start buying the dried fruits and vegetables from farmers for additional processing for sales in the local markets and grocery stores.
- Uganda Farmer’s Association
- Food and Agricultural Organization Uganda
- World Food Programme
- Ministry of Agriculture Uganda
- Rural Development Financial Institutions
Voting ends on June 24, 2018, 11:59 pm (CEST).
|Opiyo Morris Ester
Dr. Lubangakene Vincent