Simple Storage and Small-scale Processing Technologies for Horticultural Farmers



This episode of Shamba Shape Up features the Zero Energy Brick Cooler (ZEBC), one of the technologies installed at the newly established 'Innovative Cold Storage Technologies: Research, Training and Demonstration Unit' at the field station of the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences. This unit has been established with support from the National Research Fund (NRF-Kenya). Other partners who are involved in this collaborative effort include the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research, FFAR (supporting the Consortium for Food Loss and Waste Reduction), Innovate UK (supporting SOLCOOL’ - Solar Powered Cold Food Chains For Food Waste Reduction and Value Addition Project) and D-Lab (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Apart from the ZEBC, other cold storage technologies at the demonstration unit include the evaporative charcoal cooler and the refrigeration box based on Phase Change Materials (PCM) which is due for installation. The key feature of all the three technologies (ZEBC, Charcoal Cooler and Refrigeration box) is that they do not require electricity. Therefore, they are suitable and appropriate for rural areas where most of the horticultural production takes place. Also installed at the demonstration unit is the Coolbot cold room which requires electricity, but it is a low-cost alternative to conventional cold rooms. These technologies have been adapted and tested for effectiveness by the University of Nairobi Postharvest Research team and are ready for scale up.

The episode also features two drying technologies which are installed at the Food Processing Hub that has been established in partnership with Purdue University and supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. The drying technologies featured include the Tunnel Solar Dryer and the Dehytray from Jua Technologies. The Tunnel dryer is suited for drying different kinds of produce including fruits, vegetables, herbs/spices, grains, tubers etc. Farmers who are organized in groups can benefit from the Tunnel Solar dryer to maximize its use. For small scale drying, the episode features the Dehytray, a simple and portable drying technology. Drying large volumes of produce requires many units of the Dehytray but it can also be used at the household level to dry surplus vegetables and fruits for later use.

This episode of Shamba Shape Up was sponsored by the World Food Program (WFP) as part of the campaign towards postharvest loss reduction among smallholder horticultural farmers and traders. It is estimated that 40 -50% of fruits and vegetables are lost or wasted in the supply chain. Reduction of postharvest losses in the food supply chain is a key strategy to achieve food and nutrition security sustainably.