Agriculture systems in Quebrada de Humauaca, Jujuy province (in the North of the country), are very fragile, since they depend of a price defining market that sometimes forces small-scale producers to sell under the production costs. Given this situation, the Argentine National Institute for Industrial Technology (INTI) has come up with the idea to differentiate the farmers’ fruits and vegetables and to give them longer life by helping them elaborate dehydrated products. In this line, they developed a low-cost solar dehydrator (of about 1500 pesos, which equal 500 dollars), especially adapted to the climatic and productive conditions of the region. We thought this was a great idea: making the crops last more and add value without spending a lot in processes but using simple materials and the natural energy of the sun. Read the extended to find out how it was developed. And if you're inspired and want to put this to practice in other communities, the building plans are available by request.The structure of the dehydrator consists of a 3 meters long drying tunnel with wood structure covered with black plastic, and a 9 meters collector covered with transparent plastic.
Its capacity is for about 30 kilograms of fresh garlic, for example, which provide about 12 kilograms of dehydrated garlic in a period of two days.
In order to spread the experience, the INTI edited a manual that explains the construction process, which has generated new experiences in other areas of the country like Tafi del Valle, Tucuman province (in the center of Argentina).
The manual can be requested by mail at jcabrera at inti dot gov dot ar, and the project can be applied in any climate with high sunshine and low to moderate humidity. ::INTI