Solar Fruit Drying

Improving smallholder farmers’ access to profitable markets through solar fruit drying
2011 SEED Award Winner Sustainable Agriculture Karagwe, Tanzania

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.

Eco-Inclusive Impacts

The initiative tackles the problem of post-harvest losses and helps to ensure food security during the rainy seasons and creates opportunities for local farmers to access new markets.
  • Enhancing nutrition and food security for participating smallholders during the rainy seasons,
  • Contributing to sustainable incomes for a large number of farming families (initially100, growing to 300 within 5 years).
  • Using solar PV-driven equipment to drive the sustainable use of natural resources.



  • Creating self-employment opportunities in rural farming communities.
  • Helping farmers significantly increase their family incomes and nutrition levels.
  • Creating jobs at the facility.


This enterprise is supported through its partnerships with various stakeholders, ranging from national and international organisations, investors, research institutes, suppliers, governmental bodies, NGOs, other social and environmental enterprises and more.

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.

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