Solar Fruit Drying
Improving smallholder farmers’ access to profitable markets through solar fruit drying
The initiative empowers women in rural areas of Kenya economically by training them to farm and process aloe. The women are also taught how to manufacture value-added products from the aloe which can then be sold on local and national markets. All of the production processes, from farming aloe and harvesting to processing and packaging aloe products, take place at the community level. The initiative provides community-based organisations with training in aloe processing and ensures the marketing and sale of the resulting products on local and national markets.
Great demand exists for medicinal and cosmetic products made from aloe. Research is currently underway into different species of aloe, to identify which species are most suitable for meeting the requirements of different target groups.
FADECO Community Radio is used for marketing purposes, to announce training sessions and to raise general awareness about the potential value to smallholders of solar fruit drying.
SIDO-KAGERA provides support and training to the future Rift Valley Foods staff and helps ensure exposure at trade fairs
The Sokoine University of Agriculture contributes by assigning interns to conduct training and assist with technical issues related to product development.
The Kenya Institute of Organic Farming seconds staff to Rift Valley Foods to carry out the training of farmers and its future staff.
The Tanzanian Bureau of Standards has worked with Rift Valley Foods to create national standards for dried fruits.