Drying agricultural products with solar energy

By DA NANG Today
Published: September 08, 2018

Recently, many farmers in Da Nang have been interested in using solar energy to dry their agricultural products instead of drying them under the sun on nylon canvases or sheet-metal roofs.

A farmer drying mushrooms with solar drying system at the An Hai Dong Mushroom Growing Cooperative
A farmer drying mushrooms with solar dryer at the An Hai Dong Mushroom Growing Cooperative

The 0.5m-high and 1.2m-wide solar dryer with 3 drying decks is a product of the An Tiem Project of the Evergreen Labs Company.

The An Hai Dong Mushroom Growing Cooperative in Son Tra District is one of the city’s first cooperatives to use this modern system.

Ms Vu Thi Mui, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of the Cooperative, said that her Cooperative used to dry agricultural products by electric dryers, and under the sun on nylon canvases and sheet-metal roofs. However, the work did not benefit her Cooperative.

In particular, she highlighted the advantages of solar dryer in ensuring the hygiene of agricultural products which are dried in a closed system, and saving the time.

Ms Alison Kwan from the UK, the founder of the An Tiem project, has been actively involved in helping local farmers create solar dryers by themselves.

“I have seen farmers in Ecuador drying their agricultural products with solar dryers as I have worked as a volunteer at organic farms there. Therefore, I decided to implement the An Tiem Project in order to help local farmers deal with difficulties relating to drying agricultural products”, she added.

With the help of her friend who is an agricultural engineer, Kwan has started to implement her project since late 2017.

She has organised numerous seminars on how to install and use solar dryers at houses of farmers in Son Tra and Hoa Vang districts. Based on basic instructions, Cooperatives can create their own systems to suit their products.

Ms Kwan noted the solar dryer can help lower the moisture content from agricultural products by between 70 and 80%, extend their expiration dates for one more year, and ensure hygiene during processing.

Currently, the solar drying model is expanding into some mushroom growers in Hoa Vang District, and some herbal tea production cooperatives in Quang Nam Province’s Hoi An City.

Miss Kwan hoped that her project would help farmers increase the quality of their dried agricultural products in order to enhance their living conditions.