Of all the food preservation techniques practised by mankind

Of all the food preservation techniques practised by mankind, drying is most likely the oldest method. The growth and reproduction of microorganisms which cause decay and deterioration reactions can be prevented by removal of moisture during drying. The process of drying leads to a reduction in weight and volume which means a reduction in packing, storage and transportation costs. This also allows the product to be stored easily under ambient temperatures (Dr. Alice S et al, 2015). The most important purpose of a drier is to provide heated air beyond the room temperature and in doing so it evaporates moisture in maize. As the heated air passes through maize, it carries moisture with it causing its humidity to rise as it passes through the grain. The most important variables in drying are temperature, the velocity of the air stream and humidity. The use of solar dryers is best in areas where there is abundant solar energy. Of all the cereal crops grown in Zimbabwe, maize or corn is one of the most important. The hardships of transportation and rate of deterioration become less as the moisture content in maize lessens. The majority of Zimbabwean communal farmers lose a lot of grain during post-harvest and storage. Maize that is harvested with high moisture is most likely to deteriorate faster due to fungi infestation and rot. Most farmers resort to drying their produce by spreading their maize using natural unforced air-flow on wooden platforms and infield. The natural drying of maize is ineffective due to drying rate, hygiene and quality of drying. This causes the need for better drying techniques that provide clean, quality, storage condition to ensure the safe storage of grain throughout the season.