CARD invited a food engineer from PUM, Mr. Louis Timmermans, to Armenia to conduct seminars for local dried fruit producers on modern fruit drying technologies.
During his mission, from September 3 to September 12, Mr. Timmermans paid visits to several fruit drying facilities in Ararat, Armavir and Tavush regions, as well as to Arcolad chocolate production facility and provided on-site consultancy on cabinet drying technologies.
Apart from the field trips, the PUM expert conducted two seminars with Power-point presentations on “Modern Fruit Drying Technologies”, during which he made some comments on the traditional way of drying (sun drying) along with its advantages and disadvantages, and the modern way of drying through cabinet dryers. The expert linked the future of industrial fruit drying with high quality cabinet and tunnel dryers, which will allow producing standard quality dried fruits in a controlled and clean environment.
The seminars were attended by the dried fruit producing farmers experienced in sun-drying, who did not have much knowledge about cabinet drying, as well as by start-up dried fruit producers of the Tavush marz.
The first workshop was conducted for the farmers from Ararat, Armavir and Kotayk marzes. The second one was tailored for 14 farmers from Tavush region who are collaborating with UNDP on a project of dried fruit production development in their region and were going to get 17 cabinet driers in a week after the workshops. CARD collaborated with UNDP and provided technical assistance on the utilization of new technology.
“Many of the processors already use a cabinet dryer, which is a step forward, but apart from that, they must have a basic knowledge about modern drying, they must understand the basic principles and what is happening in the machinery in terms of temperature control, calculation of the process, etc.,” said Mr. Timmermans. “They should also produce their products based on market demand which can change from time to time. To produce a higher quality product, the raw material must be of the best available quality”, added the PUM expert.
In total, during his mission, Mr. Timmermans trained more than 25 farmers at the seminars and provided on-farm consultation to 8 farmers.