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Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

Farm Radio Weekly

Notes to broadcasters on solar fish drying

This story presents a situation with triple benefits: for the women fish processors involved, for people who eat fish, and for the environment. The women receive a better price and preferential treatment from fish buyers; fish consumers eat fish which is cleaner and more hygienic; and the environment benefits because trees are not cut to smoke the fish.

Here is a recent story on solar dryers:

Solar Tent Fish Dryer Will Reduce Loss (August 18, 2009) http://allafrica.com/stories/200908180027.html

Here is a blog entry which talks about the situation in Lake Chilwa: http://mosephiri.blog.co.uk/2011/09/20/solar-drying-tech-saves-fish-wastage-money-11880430/

You might want to look at the results of this scientific study. The study shows that fish processed with a solar drier retained less moisture than sun-dried fish. Dried fish with lower moisture are less prone to infestation by mould, and have a longer shelf life. Solar-dried fish were also more hygienic in the experiment in terms of lower bacterial infection. Finally, the study showed that full drying took only three days with solar dryers, as opposed to seven days with sun-drying.

You can see the study here:

http://www.wiloludjournal.com/pdf/fishaq/2010/8-16.pdf

The NGO Practical Action has many resources on solar dryers. See: http://practicalaction.org/drying-answers

One Practical Action document is entitled, “Construction and Maintenance of the Solar Fish Dryer.” You can see it here: http://practicalaction.org/construction-and-maintenance-of-the-solar-fish-drier

Here is a more general resource, from CTA, on drying agricultural produce:  http://www.anancy.net/documents/file_en/RRRP_01-8-en.pdf

Farm Radio International published a script on solar dryers in 2006.

Three Fishing Ladies with a Message about Solar Dryers (Package 79, Script 6, November 2006)

http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/79-6script_en.asp

If fishing or aquaculture is an activity in your listening area, talk to fishers, processors and traders. Ask them:

In what ways are fish processed?  For example, they may be dried, smoked, ground into fish meal, used for fertilizer, used as animal feed, etc.

How are fish dried?

Do fishers, processors, traders, or consumers report any problems with dried fish?

Are solar dryers used to dry fish?

If so, how were they introduced to the area?

Do those who use solar dryers report benefits?

Do they report any problems?

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