A wind-cum-solar dryer that can dry fish day or night.

When her husband died in 2013, Ms Leonida Awiti inherited a fishing boat and a net. Like most of the other inhabitants of Muhuru Bay on the shores of Lake Victoria, who depend largely on fishing, the 43-year-old mother of four knew that her life had changed.
Although she sometimes gets a bountiful catch, Ms Awiti is yet to reap fully from her fishing due to lack of adequate post-catch preservation.
Lack of refrigeration facilities and scanty distribution of ice at landing sites are major impediments, making it difficult for her and others to preserve their catch before it reaches the market.
“I am often forced to sell fish at throwaway prices just to avoid making losses because fish gets spoilt very first, if not preserved well,” she says.
Fish preservation methods, including smoking, frying and drying often lead to poor quality because of the slow speed of drying. Insect infestation and contamination by birds and rodents are other causes.
A system that can dry fish throughout, in good or bad weather, would be a great solution for reducing postharvest losses; and such a system, which could be a boon to fisher folks such as Ms Awiti, was one of the innovations unveiled during the recent All Africa Post-Harvest Congress. The innovation, a hybrid windmill solar tunnel fish dryer, dries the catch in good or bad weather, and day or night.
“We are using simple methods that are easily adoptable by fishermen, with an aim of increasing the quality of fish,” says Mr Peter Odote, the brains behind the technology, and a research scientist at the Mombasa- based Marine and Fisheries Research Institute.
The system consists of an integrated solar tunnel dryer with a windmill to enable drying in both sunny and dump weather. With fish landings continuing during day and night, this a handy method.
Mr Odote, who has worked in the fish quality, value addition and postharvest control units, explains that the dryer consists of a solar collector, drying chamber, a photovoltaic part, hot water heating system, DC heating coil and a windmill system.

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