Mendel University successfully implemented UNDP Challenge Fund Project in Cambodia

Initiation of Production of Czech Innovative Solar Dryers in Cambodia to Support the Export of Cambodian Agricultural Products to the EU

Mendel University in Brno successfully completed the project ‘Initiation of production of Czech innovative solar dryers in Cambodia to support the export of Cambodian agricultural products to the EU’ in Kampong Speu region, in Chambok respectively. Many communities in rural areas in Cambodia depend on their own agriculture products as a food as well as a source of money. Mangoes are second largest fruit crop by volume after bananas in Cambodia, but current problem for farmers are huge post-harvest losses, as the mango season is short and intensive. Also, producers sell the fruit at low price, or they just let it rotten.

First objective was local craftsmen to produce solar dryers, which were designed primarily for fruit drying. The capable and skilled craftsmen were selected, an emphasis was also put on their livelihoods affection by the Covid-19 pandemic, since some of them lost most of their income. The craftsmen were trained in solar dryers building, their operation and maintenance. The technology was completely new and innovative for them. As an example, Mendel University delivered one sample solar dryer to craftsmen to help them produce their owns after the project’s end and ensure the project’s sustainability. As a part of the training, the artisans received a wide range of tools, which was a major social spillover and broadened their skills, while their employability in the labour market was greatly enhanced. Finally, three pilot solar dryers were made by Cambodian craftsmen.

Second objective of the project was to support farmers who are engaged in fruit cultivation, and to make them familiar with processing fruit overproduction by using solar dryers. Three solar dryers made by the local craftsmen were handed over to three agricultural communities. Farmers were introduced to the technology and they were trained in the fruit solar drying, packing and storing. Market opportunities were discussed as well. For the farmers, fruit drying is simple mathematics – by drying their fruit, the added value of the fruit will increase, and they will be able to sell it in the market for more money. Moreover, dried fruits bring a much longer shelf-life and can ensure farmers’ food security.

For further solar dryers’ promotion and further replication in Cambodia, the implementer organized a roundtable. Donors and both Czech and Cambodian NGOs, experts and companies were invited, learned about solar dryers, and got contacts on the craftsmen for possibility to buy this technology for future projects. The roundtable was beneficial for all the participants with appreciated feedback from Cambodian experts who collaborated with Mendel University on the project.  

The project promoted technical education, employment, and export by introducing the production of solar dryers and their use for fruit preservation in Cambodia and thus, the SDGs 1 – No poverty, 2 – Zero hunger, 3 – Quality education, 7 – Affordable and clean energy and 8 – Decent work and economic growth, were successfully addressed.

For more detailed information about project, you may directly contact project manager Ing. Petr Němec Ph.D at his email address petr.nemec@mendelu.cz

 

The project was financed by the UNDP Challenge Fund: Czech Solutions for SDGs, an effective driver of innovation and change in the region.

If you are interested in the initiative or Challenge Fund: Czech Solutions for SDGs, please use the following contacts:

Czech-UNDP Partnership for SDGs: cup.applications@undp.org