The EasyDry M500 is a highly mobile, portable maize dryer targeted at servicing smallholder farmers. The EasyDry M500 is an open source technology that can dry maize in batches of 500 kgs, lowering the moisture level from 18 to 20 percent to approximately 13.5 percent in three hours, with the aim to dry three batches per day in one location. It has been piloted in Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda to date.
Fabrication: The EasyDry M500 is designed for fabrication by local artisans and has been manufactured in Kenya with local materials at a cost of $850, including expected profit margins. In Tanzania, the estimated manufacturing cost is $1,100; Rwanda is $1,660 and Uganda $1,100.
Service Operator: Similar to mechanical maize shelling services, in Kenya, the EasyDry M500 is ideally owned by a service provider, who visits different farmers every day of the drying season. In Uganda, it’s more likely that the dryer will be owned by an village aggregation center, drying the maize on farm/at the VAC before transport to the central store. As such, the EasyDry M500 was designed to be portable and can be transported on two motorbikes. Our market research found that entrepreneurs willing to provide the EasyDry M500 service would expect to recoup their investment (~$850/machine in Kenya) within a two-year period; to do so, there must be demand to dry a minimum 1.5MT/3 batches of maize per day at a cost to the farmer of ~$9.70/batch; each batch is 500 kgs.
Based on an annual, 40-day drying season and a 2 percent adoption rate among smallholders, an EasyDry M500 operator could have sufficient customers to service within a 1.6 km radius.
This dry, hot air is then pushed through the maize bed, which is suspended on a “table” like structure, placed within a canvas “bag.” Within three hours, up to 500 kg of “wet” maize with a moisture content of approximately 19 percent, is dried to a level closer to 13.5 percent, which allows for safer post-harvest storage.
A fabrication manual and an operator manual (for service providers) are both available online, along with a video. The EasyDry is simple to understand – instead of putting the maize on the ground and letting the sun evaporate the moisture, the maize is suspended and hot air pushed through.
How it works: The dryer burns maize cobs as its main heat source, given that cobs are available on farm and at little to no cost. The heat and smoke produced from burning the maize cobs passes through the heat exchange of the EasyDry M500 and then out the chimney. A second fan, powered by 5 liters of petrol per day, pushes clean air through alternative channels in the heat exchange.
The EasyDry M500 was originally developed by the AflaSTOP project, with funding from USAID and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. AflaSTOP was implemented by ACDI/VOCA and the then-Agribusiness Systems International (now Tanager) under the direction of Meridian Institute.
Watch a video about the EasyDry M5oo’s Key Operational Features here
Watch a video about the EasyDry M500’s Key Fabrication Details here
Access the EasyDry M500 Assembly, Operation, and Maintenance Manual here
Access Engineering Drawings of the EasyDry M500 here
Access the Annex to the Engineering Drawings here
Access the Manufacturing Cost Comparison Tool here
Access an analysis on the EasyDry’s Commercialization Viability here
Access the Storage Handbook here
Read a report on Adapting the EasyDry M500 for Groundnuts here
Hermetic Storage resources
Access the AflaSTOP Overview: Storage and Drying for Aflatoxin Prevention poster here
For more information, please contact former AflaSTOP Chief of Party, current Laos Microenterprise Chief of Party, Sophie Walker at email@example.com