Sustainable Cocoa for the Americas Solar Dryer Project
The Solar Dryers Project increased cocoa quality through improved drying and storage. High moisture content due to improper drying or storage results in farmers receiving a discounted rate in the marketplace. By reducing the moisture content, farmers can receive a greater price for their cocoa. The project built upon the US Agency for International Development funded PRONORTE Project which trained farmers through Farmer Field Schools. The Solar Dryers Project provided materials and instructions for the PRONORTE Farmer Field School graduates to build solar dryers, thus facilitating proper drying and storage of cocoa. The project was completed in the provinces of Esmeraldas, Orellana, and Sucumbios.
June 2006-May 2008
- Provide the materials and training to Farmer Field School graduates for the construction of 500 solar dryers.
- 225 Solar Dryers Constructed. A solar dryer is a structure placed over the ground, made with local materials such as wood or bamboo, and covered with thermal plastic (common in the construction of greenhouses). A 48 square meter solar dryer can dry all of the cocoa from a 3 hectare farm, or approximately 12 to 15 100-pound sacks monthly depending on climatic conditions. The dryers can also be used for other products including coffee and corn during periods of lower cocoa harvest.