Solar fruit driers in Kyrgyzstan

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Pro­vides solar pow­ered fruit dri­ers in Kyr­gyzs­tan for com­mu­ni­ties, improv­ing liveli­hoods.



In Kyr­gyzs­tan, farm­ing pro­vides a large por­tion of house­hold incomes, espe­cial­ly in rur­al areas. In fact, it is often the only oppor­tu­ni­ty for fam­i­lies to earn mon­ey. How­ev­er, “val­ue added” pro­cess­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties are not pos­si­ble, and farm­ers end up sell­ing raw fruits and veg­eta­bles over a short sea­son each year when pro­duce is fresh, and oth­er mid­dle­men make a larg­er share of the prof­its through pro­cess­ing.

Lack of oppor­tu­ni­ties, espe­cial­ly for young peo­ple, leads to many social issues such as out­ward migra­tion, split­ting up fam­i­lies and gen­er­al­ly hin­der­ing devel­op­ment.

The project

This project will pro­vide com­mu­ni­ty-owned and oper­at­ed solar fruit dri­ers which would pro­vide com­mu­ni­ties, espe­cial­ly young peo­ple, to gen­er­ate a liveli­hood local­ly.

The funds raised will cov­er costs for 2 dri­ers, ancil­lary equip­ment such as tables, cut­ting equip­ment and vac­u­um pack­ers, as well as pro­vide train­ing. It is expect­ed that the pres­ence of such dri­ers in clus­ters will also serve to help devel­op relat­ed busi­ness growth in the agri­cul­tur­al val­ue chain through sales / mar­ket­ing activ­i­ties.

Local com­mu­ni­ties will oper­ate the dri­ers, offer­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to gen­er­ate income from val­ue added fruit and veg­etable pro­duc­tion, or pro­duce prod­ucts for home use allow­ing con­sump­tion of pro­duce year round. A rental type sys­tem will be in place, where­by indi­vid­u­als or groups a small fee per quan­ti­ty of fruit which is used for main­te­nance pur­pos­es.

The project is non prof­it for the orga­niz­ers.

The tech­nol­o­gy

Designed by the Swiss firm using sim­ple tech­nolo­gies, the dri­ers are con­struct­ed in 40 foot ship­ping con­tain­ers. If only par­tial fund­ing is received, small­er 20′ con­tain­ers can be used. The sun heats air in large glass ramps at the base of the con­tain­er, and is pulled through the dri­ers using fans, oper­at­ed by solar pan­els. As the only mechan­i­cal parts are three small fans, the dri­ers are extreme­ly durable and require lit­tle main­te­nance.

Dri­ers can be used to dry a wide range of prod­ucts, all found in abun­dance, such as apples, apri­cots, pears, toma­toes, berries and even meat.

Project con­trols

This project will be con­duct­ed with a local NGO. We already have spe­cif­ic expe­ri­ence with sim­i­lar projects already in Kyr­gyzs­tan, with 6 exist­ing dri­ers in place already. We have a sup­pli­er to build the dri­ers, as well as an effec­tive and proven train­ing pro­gram.

Dri­ers are pro­vid­ed to the local com­mu­ni­ty, either the local munic­i­pal­i­ty, or an offi­cial com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tion, and not to indi­vid­u­als. This will ensure that the entire com­mu­ni­ty pro­vides over­sight on the project and does not favor an indi­vid­ual.

Train­ing will be pro­vid­ed to ensure that com­mu­ni­ties not only oper­ate the dri­ers prop­er­ly, but to ensure con­sis­ten­cy of prod­uct, food safe­ty and mar­ket­ing, as well as basic repair. Train­ing will also cov­er busi­ness issues, to ensure funds are avail­able for ongo­ing sus­tain­abil­i­ty of the project.

Expect­ed out­comes

This project, imple­ment­ed in 2 vil­lages, has a num­ber of out­comes:

  1. Pro­vi­sion of fruit dri­ers in 2 rur­al com­mu­ni­ties
  2. Train­ing com­plet­ed for project par­tic­i­pants
  3. Reduc­tion in pover­ty lev­els in local com­mu­ni­ties through increased income gen­er­a­tion
  4. Reduced food inse­cu­ri­ty through abil­i­ty to store fruits longer at the house­hold lev­el
  5. Improved agro-busi­ness skills and job cre­ation

Expe­ri­enced team

The project team have already deliv­ered 6 such dri­ers in the Issyk-Kul region of Kyr­gyzs­tan. This expe­ri­ence is impor­tant because most issues have already been iden­ti­fied and fixed in ear­li­er rounds of the project, and the train­ing cours­es have been focused based on the feed­back of pre­vi­ous par­tic­i­pants to cov­er the most impor­tant or crit­i­cal aspects.


Sus­tain­abil­i­ty of the project is key, and as such a num­ber of con­sid­er­a­tions are built into the project:

  1. Dri­ers are pro­vid­ed to com­mu­ni­ty organ­i­sa­tions that must accept respon­si­bil­i­ty for ongo­ing main­te­nance and func­tion­ing of the dri­ers
  2. Train­ing will include busi­ness aspects, ensur­ing funds are put into a main­te­nance pool for ongo­ing main­te­nance
  3.  Ongo­ing sup­port and mon­i­tor­ing through part­ner­ship with an estab­lished and expe­ri­enced NGO
The bud­get for this project breaks down to cov­er costs of the dri­ers, equip­ment, deliv­ery and train­ing. Dri­ers will be oper­at­ed by local com­mu­ni­ties, who will main­tain and oper­ate with ongo­ing sup­port.
  • 2 solar pow­ered dri­ers (com­plete): $24,000
  • Train­ing: $5,000
  • Equip­ment (tables, cut­ters, vac­u­um pack­agers, etc): $2,200
  • Deliv­ery charges to com­mu­ni­ty: $2,000
Should the project not raise all request­ed funds, flex­i­bil­i­ty exists to place only one 40 foot dri­er, 2 twen­ty foot or some oth­er com­bi­na­tion. If more funds are raised then need­ed, we will expand to pur­chase addi­tion­al dri­ers. All dona­tions are appre­ci­at­ed and will be used towards the Project.