At the end of December 2020, JUA Technologies International (JTI) registered a subsidiary company, Dehytech East Africa Limited (DEAL) in Kenya. Beginning in January 2021, Dehytech East Africa Limited will be the sole representative of JUA Technologies International in the East African region, and would be responsible for the importation, distribution, marketing, sales and coordination of training and technical services on the use of its solar food dryers, Dehytray and other technologies it plans to introduce in the near future.
JUA Technologies International, is a growing agri-technology company based in West Lafayette, Indiana, borne out of solar drying technologies developed at Purdue University's world-class Agricultural & Biological Engineering program. Our mission is to positively impact lives worldwide by improving food security through preservation by solar drying, reducing food losses and wastage, and increasing profitability in small grower agriculture through delivery of premium quality sun dried foods.
COVID-19 pandemic was a wake up call that showed how vulnerable food systems with small growers as major suppliers can be when a major shock like a pandemic impacts the supply chain. For example lock-downs during the peak of the pandemic prevented farmers and traders from selling fresh produce in the market, so many fresh produce went to waste. I recollect reading about the predicament of households in developing countries not having the means to purchase a weeks worth of food, even if they had the purchasing power to do so because they lacked constant power or a refrigerator at home to store food safely. This re-affirmed our conviction for the development of dry food chains, powered by solar energy, which can function without the need to store foods by electric-powered cold storage. Our second conviction was the need to hygienically process and dry foods. Coincidentally, maintaining good hygiene practices is the prevention against getting contaminated with the Corona virus. Our portable solar dryer, Dehytray provides a simple solution to hygienically dry foods grown in home gardens, smallholder and mid-sized farms, and by micro-/small-processors. We are grateful to the UN FAO and USAID for anticipating the needs of small growers for drying technologies, and helping make 1,000 units of Dehytrays available to households in five counties in Kenya in early 2020. We are also grateful for partners like Dr. Jane Ambuko of the University of Nairobi, and Dr. Patrick Ketiem of the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) for the great work they have conducted in providing awareness on the use of the Dehytray. Lastly, we are grateful for BrazAgro Ltd, who briefly represented us (2019/2020), when we were not yet on the ground.
Despite the economic down-turn faced by many small businesses like ours, COVID-19 convinced us to pitch our tents in the heart of the battle, if we are committed to making an impact. The need to be present on the ground locally in East Africa, so that we can make our technologies accessible at competitive prices using innovative product accessibility models, as well as provide adequate drying process know-how is why Dehytech East Africa Limited was established in Kenya. As we become operational in the next few weeks, please do not hesitate to contact our company representative in Nairobi to discuss how you can access our product or how we can partner with you. We look forward to serving you better, and together we hope we can all go farther.
Thank you and best wishes in 2021.
Klein Ileleji, Co-Founder & CEO