BOiC: A power cut at Kuenga Higher Secondary School in Paro did not stop Karsang Dorji from describing how an auto-electric dehydrator works to the students and community there.

A family invention, the auto-electric dehydrator is the brainchild of Karsang Dorji and his family. An engineer by profession, the 51-year-old said that the device is mainly for those farmers who lack market to sell their cash crops.

The dehydrator is used to dry fruits, vegetables, herbs and meats. The four by two feet dehydrator is made of wood with a glass window and has 10 trays.

The drying rate of the products however depends on the nature of commodities, said Karsang. “On an average vegetables like spinach dries in about two hours.”

The equipment is powered by an 800-Watt heat source. The drier is equipped with heating appliance and a mini fan, which regulates the temperature inside. The six ventilation outlets allows for the hot and cold air to circulate.

“I’ve seen and experienced that due to limited market and road access, most of the fruits and vegetables gets spoiled,” he said. “This dryer should be helpful especially to this part of the community who makes a living from crops.”

With the help of BOiC’s loan, Karsang and his group have manufactured seven driers in a month and have already sold six. Karsang believes that without a proper demonstration of the equipment, most would not understand the real purpose of his invention. “The session at Paro was the beginning. We need to go places for maximum understanding of the equipment,” he said.

At his workplace in Wangchutaba, Karsang had employed several class X and XII graduates to help him with his work. However, he lost most of the employees and currently only four of them are helping him in manufacturing the drier.

Meanwhile, his son Kelzang Dawa is giving some final touches to his auto-electric dehydrator (drier) at the workstation. The VIT graduate from Gelephu is one of his main employees. “It was difficult in the beginning since all the equipment and machines were new to me,” the 28-year-old said. “It’s much easier now and the job gets done quickly.”

On an average, Kelzang Dawa and his three friends produce a drier every three days.

Ever since the drier hit the market about a month ago, demands from cardamom growers have grown. Karsang said that although the current drier could be used to also dry spices, a new version is recommended, for which ground works have been completed.

An auto-electric dehydrator costs Nu 20,000 and the manufacturers are willing to sell on instalments to farmers.

Younten Tshedup