Comparative Dryer Performance Testing: Artisan vs. Formal Fabricators
Agribusiness Systems International (ASI) contracted Catapult Design to research, design and field test a new maize drying technology suitable for commercialization that is adapted to the needs of Kenyan smallholder farmers, permitting them to confidently, easily, and cost-effectively dry maize down to safe, long-term storage moisture content regardless of weather conditions. Performance testing of various maize drying prototypes identified the Portable Shallow-bed Batch Dryer (henceforth referred to as “the dryer”) as having the highest potential for further development and possible commercialization. A proposed manufacturing strategy for commercialization currently being explored is evaluating whether informal “Jua Kali” fabricators can reproduce a working demonstration dryer (built by the prototyping fabricator – Kenya Stove) effectively and if so, disseminate the technology in a similar fashion that is currently being observed in the agricultural equipment market. An alternative proposed manufacturing avenue for commercialization is to assess whether formal fabricators (based in bigger industrial settings) would be interested in producing the dryer design (since the design is simple enough for the informal sector to produce) and if so, at what price point would they do so.