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College of Fisheries project team develops solar-biomass hybrid dryer

According to reports, the project team of College of Fisheries here has developed a solar-biomass hybrid dryer which can dry fish in 20 hours under hygienic condition.

This is part of a research project, ‘Securefish’, which aims at improving food security by reducing post harvest losses in the fisheries sector.

The European Union-funded project got under way in May last year.

The 39,65,592 euro project involves 13 institutions including four small and medium entrepreneurs. There are four partners each from Europe (the Netherlands, Portugal), Asia (India, Malaysia), Africa (Kenya, Namibia and Ghana) and one from South America (Argentina).

Nazlin Howell, University of Surrey, UK is coordinating the project. BA Shamasundar, professor and head of the department of fish processing technology and KM Shankar, dean of College of Fisheries are investigators from India.

Shamasundar and Shankar, who are in the Netherlands in connection with the project meeting, told TOI that the advantage of the dryer is that at nights the cheap biomass available in plenty can be made use of. “The biomass dryer can be used even on rainy days. The special feature of this design is the use of poly carbonate sheets for collector instead of glass sheets,” he said.

Regarding the specific objectives of Securefish, the investigators said, “The project will undertake comprehensive and significantly useful post harvest research to help reduce post harvest losses in the fisheries sector to improve food security, particularly in low income (Kenya, Namibia, Ghana) and medium-income (India, Malaysia, Argentina) countries.”

The technologies include improved solar tunnel drying, solar assisted low-value food extrusion and fast freezing, and continuous atmospheric freeze drying (CAFD) to reduce post-harvest losses in conventional fish supplies (marine, aquaculture and freshwater) and to reduce adverse environmental impact.

The project also wants to implement improved technology, value-added products and a total quality management tool in real life third world country conditions in Africa, Asia and Latin America using three fish product chains. that can be produced by SMEs sustainably after the life of the project.

The project will involve relevant food chain actors, setting real improvement targets and achievements that will be benchmarked against existing processes, creating a legacy of best practices for future wider implementation.

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