Modern Methods For Drying Agric Produce For Export

Photo by Etty Fidele on Unsplash

I was recently contacted by a company in Ghana that is into agricultural products processing and packaging to supply ginger and chilli.

What they do is to process ginger, pepper etc into powder, package and sell. The company wanted dried ginger and chilli to be exported from Nigeria to Ghana but the challenge we had was we couldn’t find dried products. Farmers had tons of fresh products but there was a scarcity of dried ones.

Another challenge was the order was made during the raining season and so it was a no-no adopting sun drying method to dry the products, but the products must be dehydrated in order for the business to take place. So we decided to pay a company to dehydrate the ginger and chilli.

What is the essence of this short story? Many agriproducts exporters and farmers everywhere face this same challenge every day, but as an agripreneur, this is a business opportunity to make money.

All you need to do is to render the service of dehydrating these farm produce for farmers for the purpose of storage and exports, or you take it up as a full business.

Many companies that import agric produce prefer those that are dehydrated using other means more than the ones dehydrated by the sun because of the entire process involved. Although the sunning method is cheaper, it is not hygienic enough here in Nigeria. Produce are spread on a surface in an open space and this exposes them to dust, foreign particles and dirty. This is why modern methods are better.

Apart from the issue of hygiene, goats and rodents feed on these produce because they are mostly spread on an open ground with little or no measure to prevent these animals from feeding on them. This here accounts to lost and can also lead to exposure to diseases because these animals not only eat but also defecate and urinate on them.

Another reason why operating modern methods for dehydration is profitable is because of the speed at which the process will be completed. For example, if using a machine to dehydrate a tonne of ginger can take about 2 hours, using the sun can last up to 2 weeks or more.

So many farms produce need to be dehydrated. For example ginger, chilli, pepper, grains, fruits, cocoa, vegetables, fruits, meat and many more.

There are the different types of machines used for dehydrating. Their prices are determined by their sizes and functionality. For someone just starting out andmay not have much cash, it is okay to buy smaller machines, but if you have much cash and your business is large, you can go ahead with purchasing the industrial sizes.

Check out some methods used.

Solar Drying:

This method makes use of solar energy for drying but it is different from direct sun drying. Instead of products being directly exposed to the sun, the solar dehydrator has a heat absorber that receives sun rays and then transfers the heat to the products which are stacked in a compartment. It is cheap, affordable and hygienic and can be constructed by a good carpenter.

Oven Drying:

You can use the electric oven you use at home for baking to dry your products. When dehydrating your products make sure the heat level is well regulated. The heat level must be average to avoid burning of whatever you are dehydrating.

Electric Dehydrator:

This machine comes in sizes and is quite affordable. As the name implies, it is an electronic dehydrator powered by electricity.

To begin this business all you need is to reach out to farmers around and let them know you have the facility to dry their produce. Get foreign companies and local companies who constantly need dried agric produce for their production, reach an agreement with them and before you know it you are already in business.



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