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Eco-friendly, energy efficient solar hybrid dryers gaining momentum among fishermen

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

Cochin based Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) has developed a solar dryer with the alternate use of energy for back up. It is also hygienic drying of fish under the unfavorable conditions. 

CIFT has developed different models and capacities of solar dryers for hygienic drying of fish. CIFT-Hybrid model solar dryers are having LPG, biomass or electricity as an alternate back up the heating source for continuous hygienic drying of fish even under unfavorable weather conditions. The capacity of these hybrid solar dryers varies from 6 to 110 m2 of tray spreading area for drying of various quantities of fish varying from 10 kg to 500 kg. CIFT developed eco-friendly and energy efficient solar hybrid dryers are gaining momentum among fishermen community and dry fish business start-ups. 

Shri Martin of Kumbalangi (Ernakulam district) was one of the trainee who attended the two-day training program in the year 2017 on pre-processing and drying of fish conducted during 24-25 October at the Engineering Division. The knowledge about the energy and cost efficient solar drying technology CIFT perceived during the training period, he approached the Institute with a determined plan to start a venture in hygienic dry fish business. 

Initially, he registered as an incubatee of Agri-business incubation unit of the Institute and started drying fish in CIFT solar dryers, for which an operating cost was incurred from him. Shrimp, mackerel, lizard fish, silver croaker, sole fish, glassy perchlet, anchovy etc. were commonly dried. He did test marketing of the solar dried fish with ICAR-CIFT logo under the brand name “EMMA Dry Fish Products” in the local markets and nearby super markets. The demands for the hygienic and solar dried fish products made him realize the potential of dry fish business.  Since, CIFT has around 10-15 incubatees who adopted the solar drying technology, the availability of each incubatee to use the dryer was less. Hence, Shri Martin approached CIFT with an intention to purchase one unit of solar-electrical dryer of 20 kg capacity under the technical support of CIFT.  

The request was accepted and fabrication of the dryer was executed through CIFT empanelled agency. On 13th November 2017, the dryer was commissioned at the residence of Shri Martin at Kumbalanghi. ICAR-CIFT officials visited the site and evaluated the performance of the dryer.  

Currently Mr. Martin is supplying hygienic solar dried fish products under the brand name of EMMA Solar Dried Fish Food-Premium Quality in 31 supermarkets of Ernakulam district.  

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