Cyrus Galyaki, a former Fullwell Transform hire, is promoting and installing solar dryers across Uganda, based on a design piloted by Fullwell Transform, Makerere University and Fruits of the Nile.
Fullwell Transform’s vision and approach in this area is to innovate appropriate technologies and solutions for agricultural processing SMEs in developing contexts, and to then catalyse the adoption of these technologies and solutions at scale in a way that maximises benefits at the local level.
This includes raising awareness and capacity at the level of local technicians and entrepreneurs, with the aim of embedding the ability to design, manufacture, install and repair at the local level also. Fullwell Transform believes this is not only critical from a sustainability and scalability perspective, but is also a further opportunity to make impact in the form of extra income generation and even job creation.
Cyrus is 31 years old and a graduate of Agricultural Engineering at Makerere University, where he worked under the University in collaboration with Fullwell Transform, to design and build an improved solar dryer for research and demonstration purposes.
The success of the demonstration solar dryer led Fullwell Transform to develop a small project to pilot the installation of 3-4 of the solar dryers in Fruits of the Nile’s banana and pineapple supply chains. Fullwell Transform secured the necessary funding, and hired Cyrus to help install the dryers.
These installations are now complete, and Cyrus has since started his own business that focuses on the installation and repair of equipment for agricultural processing SMEs. His offering includes solar dryers and greenhouses based on the design piloted by Fullwell Transform, Makerere University and Fruits of the Nile, and to date he has completed nine installations with more in the pipeline. He has made some modifications to the design – including increasing the scale of the dryers for some clients – but the basic design remains mostly the same.
His clients have ranged from farmer groups, through NGOs and academic and research institutions to one of the government’s ministries. Some of the dryers are being used for research and development purposes, which are already helping to catalyse the scaling of adoption. Products that are either being dried or are being planned to be tested in the driers include moringa leaves, pineapple, jackfruit, pumpkin, banana, cocoa and cassava. These are intended for export as well as local markets. The locations of the driers are spread across Eastern, Western, Central and Northern Uganda.
Cyrus says that compared to traditional solar dryers, the improved solar dryers allow drying to take place even on cloudy days, which in addition to allowing producers and dryers to increase output also reduces spoiled product and resulting loss. He adds that:
“the temperature inside the improved dryers is good, even on cloudy days, and remains so up until around 9.30pm, long after the sun has set”.
The majority of the installations have come about as a result of referrals to date. Cyrus goes on to explain that:
“the most common questions people ask about the technologies are how much it costs, and then how quickly can they get this back”.
He adds that in his experience the solar dryers have a Return on Investment (ROI) of only around 6 months.