MUGONGO WAAZI BRINING AND SOLAR DRYING IN UGANDA
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The traditional method of salting and drying fish carcasses, known as Mugongo Waazi (MW), in Jinja, Uganda has proven to hurt the local environment, be financially inefficient and result in an unhygienic product. MW dry on open tarps which allows soil particles and other atmospheric pollutants to settle on them as well as disease carrying flies. The salt solution drains directly into a wetland before the Nile River and is visibly destroying it. Wasting the huge amount of salt used in MW processing is costly. The land where the MW is processed is not used to its total capacity which limits production, and the odor from the MW causes issues with the neighbors and an unpleasant working environment. This paper explores an alternate process of brining and solar drying the MW which is proposed as a way of alleviating many of these issues. After researching past experiments, two solar dryer designs-rectangular and triangular, were built with inexpensive and local materials. With a few revisions, the dryers were used in 5 experiments to dry cut and cleaned fish carcasses after the carcasses were soaked in brine over night. The inside temperatures of both dryers as well as the ambient temperature were recorded with weather, insect, and overall observations. After slightly adjusting the brining and drying process, the MW were successfully dried even in non-optimal weather, amount of salt used was decreased, and a more appealing product (by sight and touch) was produced. The triangular solar dryer proved to be the optimal design. Unfortunately, the number of flies inside the dryer and the short preservation period was still an issue. Future experiments should work with pickle curing and a further revised version of the triangular dryer. ii The improved salting and solar drying technology can develop the MW market substantially as well as improve on environmental and worker concerns if logistical issues between the Jinja MW processing groups, fish factories and the municipality of Jinja can be resolved.
Brining; Solar Dryer; fish; Uganda