News and knowhow for farmers

Green energy assists rural farmers stem post harvest losses

Grain farmers in rural areas buffeted by rising cost and uneven distribution of electricity which has made it hard for them to access electricity powered storage facilities now have a reason to smile thanks to the introduction of green energy powered mini silos.

Most farmers in Africa and Kenya are concentrated in the rural areas which are disadvantaged in infrastructural development. Official statistics indicate that Kenya is among the developing countries ranked as having the lowest connectivity to electricity in the world standing at less than 20percent, which has negatively affected economic progress.

According to a study by Dr. Rambo Charles from the University of Nairobi, the four thematic factors determining electricity connectivity in Kenya include infrastructure at 92 percent, social economic factors at 27.6 percent whereas outsourcing is least important at 18percent. Based on such a report, Dr. Rambo indicates that with the low levels of infrastructure development in rural areas in Kenya, the rural dwellers most of whom are farmers do not have any access to electricity and any innovation geared towards helping them then has to put such into consideration.

Based on the low levels of infrastructure development and poor electricity connectivity, Olivier Colas the deputy managing director Kepler and Webber a Brazilian firm specializing in Silo manufacturing came up with a mini solar that would function without the need for electricity. Colas noted that having been advised by his counterpart Marcos Brandalise CEO of BrazAfric decided to design an innovative solar powered mini silo meant for the smallholder farmers in rural areas.

“The unveiling of the solar powered mini silo is an effort geared towards the curbing of the over 60 percent of post harvest losses that most smallholder farmers are experiencing in Africa. This is the first of its’ kind in the continent and we hope that we are going to save many households who have been experiencing losses due to poor storage facilities and exploitation from middlemen,” explained Colas.

The solar powered mini silo has a capacity ranging from 2.5tonnes to 6 tonnes sizes that Colas noted were researched and found fit for most smallholder farmer’s production per season. The silo is fitted with a solar panel which is the main heat generator and powers the fan which conducts the aeration process inside the silo consequently drying the grains and the heat killing any impurities. “It is a flexible equipment which takes into consideration the fact that there is uneven distribution of electricity in most African states and therefore can either be powered by solar or battery,” added Colas.

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