EASY DRY M500 (TM) Grain Dryer
Client: Agribusiness Services International
Objective: To engineer and design a portable maize dryer for manufacturing and distribution.
Context: Aflatoxin is a highly toxic fungi that infects many crops in East Africa. This invisible toxin is linked to liver disease, cancer, immune system suppression, growth retardation, and death in both humans and domestic animals. For this reason, Agricultural Systems International (ASI) hired Catapult to design a set of improved viable drying options. ASI also mandated that the device be manufactured and sold by businesses operating in Africa.
Process: Catapult assembled a "dream team" of experts in post-harvest processing, Kenya-based development partners, seasoned engineers, and experienced prototype fabricators to explore intentionally diverse approaches to maize drying. The team honed in on three promising dryer concepts, and through a series of user and field tests we narrowed it down to one concept that promised commercial viability. We then vetted local fabricators, choosing the one that understood the product, displayed quality work, and could engage in small scale manufacturing. The chosen fabricators prototype exceeded expectations, outperforming our design team's prototype.
Innovation & Impact: The Easy Dry M500TM design is the first portable maize dryer that allows Kenyan smallholder farmers to confidently, easily, and cost-effectively dry maize to prevent aflatoxin growth, regardless of weather conditions. The team documented the design such that multiple manufacturers in Kenya could adopt it and deploy grain drying tools to the Kenyan market. ASI continues to work with manufacturers while demonstrating the device with farmers and other local agricultural partners at local trade fairs.