On the afternoon of Wednesday June 22, 2016, the RAPID Solar Dyer one of the Innovations under incubation in the Makerere University School of Public Health ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) www.ranlab.org  was moved and shared about at Atamba Farm in Mukono district, Uganda. This farm’s entrepreneur is Mrs. Joan Kakwenzire, the Ugandan Presidential Advisor on Poverty Alleviation. This engagement  brought together 60 participants including Resident District Commissioners (RDCs), farmers, operation wealth creation officials, Poverty Alleviation Team-State House Uganda, Innovation Consortium Limited, Veterinary Office-Mukono District,  Urban and Uganda Broadcasting Corporation Televisions, many of which expressed interest in several of the Innovative solutions under incubation at the RAN Innovation Lab http://www.ranlab.org/innovations . Among these farmers was Ms. Deborah Batereezi from the Poverty Alleviation Team-State House Uganda who openly expressed her interest in the RAPID Solar Dryer saying;

“For a very long time, I have been looking for such a dryer but I failed to get it. This is my dream dryer! Thank you dear innovators for coming and reaching out to us because my day today is not wasted. I have moved to different countries such as South Africa among others and found that these people dry things like meat, onions, carrots, etc. and people seriously buy them off the shelves in the supermarkets. In Uganda, we have no such a thing. I always move to supermarkets, even without intentions of buying but to see whether some supermarkets are selling such properly dried food stuff, but nothing is found. My dream is to introduce such in Uganda, but I was lacking a proper dryer to use. My sister bought a direct dryer worth Uganda Shillings 400,000 only but unfortunately this dryer changes the color of the dried produce. I did not like it. I kept looking out for other solar dryers but going to almost all exhibitions including the recent CBS POESSA exhibition, but no such a dryer was found. I thank GOD I have found this dryer here today. Please let me know of the cost so that I immediately, start saving for it. I must buy it. I am interested in drying carrots, egg plants, cabbages, onions and French beans for the export market and sale in the supermarkets. This business can be done from my home since this dryer can even fit in my plot of 50 by 100.”

Mrs. Joan Kakwenzire added that, “Such innovations can be sold to lead farmers in model villages (under Uganda’s Poverty Alleviation program) so that many people can learn about and physically interact with such technologies. These RAPID Solar Dryers could than sell out very fast”.

Additional Key Opportunities

  • Many people including students, innovators, faculty, farmers, and the community at large got to know about the RAPID Solar Dryer. This was an exceptional and rich marketing opportunity.
  • Some farmers were interested in fabricating for them RAPID Solar dryers that can effectively dry charcoal briquettes.
  • Farmers appreciated the fact that the RAPID Solar Dryer does not require a lot of space to allow for operation and usage.

Written by: Swaib Semiyaga, Innovator on the RAPID Solar Dryer Team