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Agricultural Drying in Jamaica Uses Innovative Solar, Alternative and Renewable Energy Technologies

Winners of the 2012 IDEAS Energy Innovation Contest for the Caribbean, a business competition funded by UKAid from the Department for International Development (DFID) and implemented by GVEP, Caribbean Esco Ltd received a grant in 2012 to develop their innovative agro-drying technology, which helps farmers add value to their produce through agricultural drying and desiccation.

Winners of the 2012 IDEAS Energy Innovation Contest for the Caribbean, a business competition funded by UKAid from the Department for International Development (DFID) and implemented by GVEP, Caribbean Esco Ltd received a grant in 2012 to develop their innovative agro-drying technology, which helps farmers add value to their produce through agricultural drying and desiccation.

 

With a total grant funding of over $170,000 Mr. Eaton Haughton, technology innovator and owner of Caribbean Esco, has started work at the Seville Trade Training Centre in St Ann’s Bay, Jamaica. Having now installed the equipment, GVEP is working closely with Eaton to get a suitable business plan in place.

 

The agricultural foods dryer is expected to function at minimal to zero energy costs by a combination of energy efficient and alternative energy technologies. Using electricity produced from solar panels and wind turbines in combination with heat captured from used oil together with a liquid desiccant, dehydration times can be optimized and the percentage humidity of products reduced, meaning raw agricultural food produce can be dried and preserved at lower energy and environmental costs.

 

GVEP has been advising Eaton on his business and in May 2013, we sent consultant Adam Brett to meet with him, review the site and write a strategy document to guide the project’s ongoing development.

 

“I have visited and worked with food drying equipment in many countries and have never seen this configuration of technologies brought together in this way. Similar systems, which lack the solar thermal and desiccant stages are fairly common, but the ‘whole package’ as put together by Mr Haughton is innovative” says Adam, a consultant with over 20 years’ experience in the agro-food processing sector.

 

Findings from this initial report have identified the need for further market research, training for all staff in food handling and production process. To provide additional support, Eaton is gathering together a Management Board who will be able to provide further advice about the operation of the business.

 

Possible customers have been identified, including a medium scale chili-sauce manufacturer who would buy a range of dried products, and an herbal tea manufacturer who would buy dried ginger and other dried herbs. The high rate of import tariffs in Jamaica means domestic drying is an economical use of raw products, with a future aim being to encourage small scale farmers to provide produce for drying.

 

Haughton envisages that the project will bring significant benefits for agro-processing, enabling farmers to convert yields of raw fruits and spices into higher value products. It is hoped the project will reduce crop wastage, increase local agro-processing, create jobs and raise awareness about energy efficiency.

 

Eaton wants the processing facility to be replicated across the island of Jamaica and perhaps further in the Caribbean region. Work is already under way to get an international patent for the technology.

 

Launched by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Jamaica and funded by the Department for International Development (UKAid), the IDB and the South Korean government, the IDEAS Contest judged applicants from 15 Caribbean countries to receive awards of up to US$200,000 for projects and enterprises that promote energy efficiency and access to renewable energy in the Caribbean region.

 

GVEP were chosen by DFID to be the implementing partners for the Ideas Contest, providing technical and business advice, feasibility studies, monitoring and marketing assistance to the contest winners.

 

Source: http://www.gvepinternational.org/en/business/news/agricultural-drying-jamaica-uses-innovative-solar-alternative-and-renewable-energy-tec



Category/ies:Jamaica News, News.
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