In Nigeria, an expert has asserted that the adoption of solar food processing method will help to increase food production in Nigerian rural areas moreso at a cheap cost.
This assertion was made by the Managing Director, Makfurego Nigeria Limited, Funsho Makanjuola, during the unveiling of the solar biomass energy equipment to promote food security in rural areas recently.
He stated that the introduction of the equipment for food security was timely and essential, urging the government to take advantage of the cheap but efficient system of crop drying and processing for food security especially for a great country as Nigeria.
Makanjuola who noted that the equipment would help create foodstuff-drying centres in several rural villages for women in the country stressed that it has no electrical parts, and this would make it easy to be install in any remote community.
The equipment’s components are the solar collector, biomass burner and the drying chamber.
The solar collector collects the sunlight energy and converts it to heat while the biomass burner chamber is the place where the agricultural waste and residues will be burnt to generate heat, which is then circulated into the drying chamber where the products to be dried are kept. Inside the chamber, the foodstuff is maintained in a hygienic condition and contamination is prevented complete.
Makanjuola however listed some of the advantages of the solar/biomass hybrid dryer to include its usefullness in any weather condition, enhanced natural convective air circulation system, wide variety of crops it can dry, and the availabiltiy of its fuel – wood, farm waste and solar energy.
He added that the system has excellent hygiene quality like no dust, no smoke, and no attack from insects or rodents. The products’ colour and taste are preserved, while drying temperature can be regulated manually taking into consideration the type of product to be dried and the temperature requirements.
It is therefore pertinent to note that this is also a hybrid method for drying crops such as maize, meat, pepper, vegetable, onions, fish, yam chips, elubo , cassava, cassava chips, fruits, tomatoes, okra and copra, amongst others.