High malnutrition rates, high unemployment, poor finance education, and competition with big business keeps small scale farmers in Solola extremely poor. Selling agricultural products to middlemen, cash is only available at harvest time and for much of the year the family goes hungry. Almost half of the children in Solola are malnourished. These factors contribute to barriers to income generation and the cycle of poverty continues.
Cooperatives of rural youth, women, agriculturalists, artisans and fishermen are a common strategy to pool resources to assist their economic development. Our solar dehydrator, easily built from locally available materials, uses passive solar power to capture heat and channel hot air through a drying chamber. It preserves herbs, fruits, vegetables and meats adding value to farm products, and widening their income margin.
Cooperatives with a solar dehydrator will earn extra income for locally farmed products and enjoy the value added, requiring only a minimum of added human labour. Two current user-groups, a women's cooperative and an Elders Association are using funds to cover medical expenses and family nutrition. In the next year, 3 more solar dehydrators will generate a new income to over 30 cooperative members in Solola.
This project has provided additional documentation in a Microsoft Word file (projdoc.doc).
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