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Introduction to Solar Drying

Drying, in the context of agriculture, refers to the process of removing moisture from crops. After harvest, a crop will have inherent moisture that it accumulated during the growth phase. The moisture creates a favorable environment for microbial activity, which at the very least reduces the possible storage time, and at worst, leads to the spoilage of the crops rendering them unfit for consumption. Drying removes this moisture inherent in crops after harvesting, thereby increasing the crops’ storage life. However, the process of drying varies, depending on a range of factors that include the crop, preferred technology, desired drying range, and even the budget. This write-up will focus on solar drying as this is the most widely adopted form of drying in Africa. To that end, there are two main practices of solar drying in Africa- Open sun drying and solar drying.