English | Dzongkha Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Greenhouse solar dryer-new method to dry agricultural products

Sonam Tshering, Monggar
Dec 5, 2018

To provide an alternative for the farmers to dry their agricultural produce, the Agriculture Research and Development Centre (ARDC) at Wengkhar in Monggar has come up with a new technology called greenhouse solar dryer.

At present, most of the farmers dry their farm produce in a conventional method, natural sun drying in open space, which is said to be unhygienic and time-consuming.

The centre says the new drying mechanism has lots of benefits over open space and electric drying techniques.

The UV resistant plastic sheet allows development of a greenhouse effect inside the dryer. Solar powered fans are used to ventilate the dryer. The concept was adopted from Silpakorn University in Thailand.

“It was aimed in developing alternative drying technology as compared to our open sun drying and electric dryer. We initiated this with increasing production of vegetables and fruits and gaining popularity of dried products. Also, to reduce post-harvest losses,” Pema Lhaden, the Senior Supervisor from ARDC-Wengkhar said.

The initiative was supported by the Commercial Agriculture and Resilient Livelihoods Enhancement Program (CARLEP). The solar dryer takes five-day to dry vegetables and fruits while open sun drying takes almost three-week.

“The solar dryer is not only hygienic but also protects the products against pest, diseases and even rain. It is economic efficiency because it’s cheap, ” Pema Lhaden said.

The centre has plans to introduce the new method in all eastern districts. They are currently targeting chilli growers.

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