“Energy efficient rural food processing utilizing renewable energy to improve rural Livelihoods” known as the “RE4Food” project is a three year effort by researchers in Sierra Leone, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Germany and the UK, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). It takes its objectives from the observation by the World Health Organization (WHO) that nearly 60% of the world population is malnourished. Developing countries have high population growth and are increasingly using fossil fuels within their food production systems and it is estimated that 7 to 10 calories of energy are required in the production of 1 calorie of food. The artisanal fishing industry in Sierra Leone is faced with challenges in fish processing due to lack of modern facilities. Fish landings typically exceed local demand and the surplus is smoked; the inefficiency of traditional methods threatens terrestrial and mangrove forests. Our research focused on collecting indigenous technical knowledge, economic and efficiency measurements of energy utilized along the value chain. We report initial findings on use of a passive solar drier which shows that they are unlikely to make a substantial contribution to fish processing in Sierra Leone in the immediate future.
Key words: Fish processing, smoking, renewable energy, solar dryer, fishing.
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