Chimney solar dryer

The chimney solar dryer is built with low-cost materials and combines heat collection with constant airflow for efficient drying. Designed by UC Davis researchers for the Horticulture Innovation Lab, the dryer allows farmers and others to use the sun to efficiently dry fruits, vegetables and other foods for long-term storage. Farmers can add value to crop surpluses and extend access to fruits and vegetables throughout the year.


The DryCard™ is an inexpensive device developed by UC Davis researchers for determining if dried food is dry enough to prevent mold growth during storage. Moldy food can have a bad taste and may be contaminated with harmful toxins. Molds will not grow if the air around a product is lower than 65 percent relative humidity.


In many developing countries, the rate of postharvest loss for fruits and vegetables exceeds 50 percent. Cool storage can greatly reduce these losses, but is virtually non-existent in many places due to the high cost of equipment. The CoolBot is one option for reducing the costs of a cold room, using a device that tricks an air conditioner into further reducing temperatures in a well insulated room.

Pest-exclusion nets

Pest-exclusion nets create a barrier that protects vegetables against pests and associated diseases. The nets can also serve as floating row covers to control temperature, light, relative humidity and soil moisture for plant production.

Drying beads

Drying beads are a zeolite-based desiccant product developed by Rhino Research. When used with airtight containers, the drying beads provide a widely adaptable method for drying high-value horticultural seeds and maintaining seed quality during storage. The beads can be reused indefinitely by heating between uses.

Conservation agriculture for vegetables

More commonly used with field crops, conservation agriculture combines three practices that help farmers invest in soil health, specifically: minimal soil disturbance (“no tilling), continuous mulch cover, and rotating diverse crops. These practices can improve soil health and reduce water evaporation from the soil.

Vegetable grafting

Vegetable grafting is increasingly adopted worldwide to reduce the risk of soilborne diseases and can offer an entrepreneurial opportunity for skilled nursery farmers. Grafting begins with two types of seedlings that are cut and then physically joined together to grow into one plant: the scion, the part of the plant above the ground; and the rootstock, which is generally chosen for its ability to resist soilborne diseases.

Dry chain

What is the dry chain?

The concept of drying products and maintaining their dryness with hermetic storage is called the “dry chain.” Implementing the dry chain can prevent mold growth after harvest and during storage, reducing food losses and exposure to mycotoxins such as aflatoxin.