ICAR-CIFT has developed different models and capacities of solar dryers for hygienic drying of fish. CIFT-Hybrid model solar dryers are having LPG, biomass or electricity as alternate back up heating source for continuous hygienic drying of fish even under unfavourable weather conditions. The capacity of these hybrid solar dryers varies from 6 to 110 m2 of tray spreading area for drying of various quantities of fish varying from 10 kg to 500 kg. CIFT developed eco-friendly and energy efficient solar hybrid dryers are gaining momentum among fishermen community and dry fish business start-ups.
Shri.Martin of Kumbalangi was one of the trainee who attended the two-day training program on pre-processing and drying of fish conducted during October 24-25, 2017 at the Engineering Division of CIFT. In light of the knowledge about the energy and cost efficient solar drying technology perceived during the training period, he approached CIFT with a determined plan to start a venture in hygienic dry fish business. Initially, he registered as an incubatee of Agri-business incubation unit of CIFT and started drying fish in CIFT solar dryers, for which an operating cost was incurred from him. Shrimp, mackerel, lizard fish, silver croaker, sole fish, glassy perchlet, anchovy etc. were commonly dried. He did test marketing of the solar dried fish with CIFT logo under the brand name “EMMA Dry Fish Products” in the local markets and nearby super markets. The demands for the hygienic and solar dried fish products made him realize the potential of dry fish business. Since, CIFT has around 10-15 incubatees who adopted the solar drying technology, the frequency of each incubatee to use the dryer was less. Hence, Shri. Martin approached CIFT with a request to purchase solar-electrical dryer of 20 kg capacity under the technical support of CIFT. The request was accepted and fabrication of the dryer was executed through CIFT empanelled agency. On 13th November 2017, the dryer was commissioned at the residence of Shri. Martin at Kumbalanghi. CIFT officials visited the site and evaluated the performance of the dryer. Now, Shri. Martin is serving hygienic and solar dried fish products under the brand name of “EMMA Solar Dried Fish Food-Premium Quality” in 31 supermarkets of Ernakulam district.