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Global Ideas

Helping farmers in Nicaragua

With a shorter dry season and more extreme weather, preserving coffee and cocoa harvests in Nicaragua’s highlands is not easy. But farmers are using small solar dryers to dry their crops in a fast and effective way.

Project goal: Climate-friendly method of drying grains, fruits, herbs and spices

Project type: Solar dryers protect harvests from weather extremes and help secure the  livelihoods of farmers

Project size: More than 80 solar dryers installed in Nicaragua, distribution in 12 countries

CO2 savings: Cocoa beans partially being dried by solar power instead of wood burning, thereby reducing CO2 emissions and slowing deforestation

Nicaragua is a country known for coffee and cocoa, with its highlands boasting some of the best beans in the world. But climate change has altered weather patterns – dry seasons are becoming shorter and there’s more extreme precipitation during the rainy season. As a result, coffee harvests on the fields are increasingly turning moldy because they often can’t be processed fast enough. That’s affecting small-scale farmers in the country whose livelihood depends on successful harvests. Now, local NGOs are working together with industry and universities to help farmers become more flexible and adapt to the climate chaos they’re facing. One simple yet powerful solution could be small solar dryers. They allow farmers to dry out coffee, cocoa, fruit and wood within hours and store those products until market prices have risen – all without resorting to chemical preservatives.

A film by Michael Altenhenne

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