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Bhutan: Solar dryers for rural communities

Economic, social  development & support

Bhutan: Solar dryers for rural communities

Objective: A solar dryer improves nutrition for rural Bhutanese communities and reduces pollution levels

  • Status

    Project completed

  • Location Bhutan

Dagana Dzongkhag is one of the remotest districts in Bhutan. Yet, the location is blessed with favourable climatic conditions for the cultivation of fruits and vegetables. Traditional methods are still being used, such as open-air sun drying and smoke, but they are not satisfactory as products deteriorate rapidly resulting in vegetable shortage during the cold season. During a visit to a previous project providing eco-stoves to 300 families, a concern was raised by the villages' local heads in relation to nutrition and economic development.  

A new project was born to provide better food conservation. The project fosters sustainable development by enhancing food security (waste prevention) and making food available during lean seasons (reducing intensive food imports and exports). The originality of the products gives them a marketable edge and communities can sell them to generate an income. 


A competition was launched between different universities to design the solar dryer. The successful model fulfilled the selection criteria based on originality, efficiency, affordability, marketability, materials used, presentation and elevator pitch. Two graduates from a vocational training institute are currently working on the sites of Goshi and Jigmeling to familiarise the communities with the fabrication and usage of the solar dryers.

Partner: Tarayana Foundation works towards building a happy and prosperous Bhutan. It was established in 2003 by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck and focuses on helping remote communities lacking in socio-economic development. The foundation thrives to develop volunteerism amongst the Bhutanese youth, together with improving access to health services and childrens' right to education and fostering micro finance.

Sponsor: Norbert Fuernkranz

  • Promoter

    Daniel Tappeiner

  • Duration

    18 months