Nkwelle Jacob Esong, Building Solar Dryers To Conserve Vegetables And Spices
A major problem with green leafy vegetables and spices like bitter leaf (Vernonia amydalina), Okongobong (Telifera occidentalis), Erru (Gnetum africanum), capsicum pepper and mushrooms is that they are seasonal and highly perishable. During the pick season they are often sold at give-away prices and some are simply wasted in the villages, yet people pay a lot of money for them in towns and cities.
When cooked, dried vegetables can taste similar to fresh ones; they are nutritious (rich in vitamins, beta-carotene and minerals), tasty and inexpensive and can help to reduce hunger and malnutrition. Minerals and vitamins are essential in the diet of everyone, but especially so for children, nursing and pregnant women, the elderly and sick.
This pilot project intends to build two types of solar dryers to enable peasant women in and around Tombel reduce post harvest loss of vegetables and spices from about 40% to less than 10%. It intends to train a carpenter and a welder on the construction of both types of dryers respectively and organize a one day workshop with peasant women to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of the dryers in conserving vegetables and spices. The solar dryers are also needed to add value to the crops, increase their shelf life and enhance food security and the farm family income of peasant women in my community.
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