Fish drying (the process of removing water) is crucial to retain the freshness so that the catch can be sold in the market. Once again, fulfilling its commitment towards social and economic development of communities living in and around its areas of operation, Tata Power’s wholly owned subsidiary, Coastal Gujarat Power Limited (CGPL) has put solar dryers for fish drying in Modhva village, Gujarat on experimental basis, the success of the initiatives will be then discussed with the community and installation of more solar dyer in convergence with government.
Why solar dryers?
Every year, fishermen communities across the country loose a sizable part of their catch due to lack of preservation techniques. Traditional sun-drying is time consuming and unhygienic as the catch is exposed to dust particles for a long time. As a result of poor quality of dried fish, profits of the fishermen plummet. While sun-drying of fish can take a couple of days, solar dryers do the same job within a few hours.
As part of the pilot project, CGPL in association with the Village development and Advisory Council (VDAC) of Modhva, installed a solar dryer in Tragadi Bunder. This initiative was kick-started as part of the Sagarbandhu programme. The main objective behind the pilot was to observe the difference between traditional fish drying and scientific solar drying methods. A solar drier reduces moisture content in the fish more than the conventional drying method, increasing its shelf-life. About 10 kilograms of fish was dried down to 2.5 kilograms in the solar drier as against 3.5 kilograms obtained through conventional drying methods.
The experimental run of the dryer proved to be extremely successful showing a significant drop in the time taken to remove water from the fish. Increased shelf life translated into subsequent sales. In fact, solar dried fish fetched the fishermen 40 per cent more price than the ones dried through conventional methods.
Following the success of this trial, CGPL will then coordinate with the Department of Fisheries, Gujarat, to install solar dryers in Modhva village and other locations in Tragadi Bunder.