It not only brings a smile to Malawi fishermen, but it also fills their wallets. The revolutionary solar drying tent was made available to them and stands a better life for the fishing community.Made from polyethylene sheets and a simple wooden frame, these solar drying tents were designed to trap warm air inside and dry the fish more quickly, even if it rains. This project is part of Cultivate Africa’s Future and supported by the Australian and Canadian governments that aim to develop efficient and environmentally friendly technologies to help those living from fishing.
In Malawi, fish represents 70% of animal protein in the people diet. Once captured, they are sun-dried, smoked, steamed or grilled. Normally, the fish requires up to two days to dry. However, the productive season of fish catches in Malawi coincides with the rainy season and high humidity, which interferes with the drying and smoking. Many problems were noted during the drying process.
Drying fish outdoor also means insect infestations, the accumulation of dust, and contamination by animals. Fish smoking, done on open fires, lead to high smoke levels. As a result, over 40% of fishing in Malawi is lost during treatment, with a significant impact on fish consumption in the country. The high losses also contributed to a decline in the fishing industry, whether as a power source, income or employment.
Solar tent aims to provide Malawi fishing communities for a cheap and effective way to dry their catch while boosting their profits and improve their lives. Fishermen say they are now in a better position to sell quality fish while seeking a higher price.
A cheap and effective way to dry their catch
With the solar tent, the number of fish lost during the drying treatment is significantly reduced. Now, fishermen bring their catch to dry in the morning and once it is night, they can already pick it up. Solar tent also prevents the loss of fish due to predators or other animals that come to eat or contaminate it when they are exposed on racks.
The solar tents also have another unexpected effect on areas where they were built. While using energy from the sun, there is no need to cut down trees that was once used to smoke fish.
The fishing industry employs more than 50 000 fishermen and 35 000 people are involved in industries directly related such as fish processing, fish marketing, manufacturing nets and boat building.