Nelly Bassily | August 24, 2009
Small tents dot the shores of Kanji Lake in Nigeria. Standing about a metre tall, they are made from sticks and polythene bags. Fishers set them up – not for themselves, but for their fish.
The fishers are using solar tent dryers to preserve their harvest. It’s a new technique developed by Nigeria’s National Institute of Freshwater Fisheries.
Dr. Aminu Raji is executive director of the Institute. He says that up to half of the fish harvested in Nigeria goes bad before they can be eaten. The solar energy dryer was developed to reduce post-harvest loss.
Dr. Raji explains how to make a solar dryer. You start by placing black stones on the ground. Next, put a rack on the stones and place your fish on top of the rack. Then cover everything with a white polythene bag.
Dr. Raji notes that the sun penetrates the bag and warms the stones. The bag keeps the heat inside the tent and prevents infestation. The heat dries the fish completely within three days.
The Institute hopes to see more fishers setting up tents to preserve their fish. Then, more fish will wind up on people’s tables instead of in the waste.
-To see what a solar energy tent fish dryer looks like, visit the National Institute of Freshwater Fisheries website: http://www.niffrnigeria.org/index.php/research-divisions/fish-technology.
-For information on another type of solar fish dryer used in West Africa, refer to this Farm Radio International script: http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/79-6script_en.asp.