Climate Smart Dry Chain for Food and Nutrition Security in Nepal

  • Durga D. Poudel University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
  • Krishna Belbase Evaluation Office, UNICEF, New York (Retd)
  • Marthe De Boevre Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
  • Sarah De Saeger Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
  • Peetambar Dahal University of California, Davis, USA
Keywords: Mycotoxins, Nutrition, Food Loss, Dry Chain, Climate Smart, Moisture-proof Hermetic Bags


Global efforts to feed the burgeoning population have focused on increasing food production and access. In the meantime, FAO estimates about 1/3 food loss in the developing countries. To minimize these losses, grain storage techniques were investigated in an earthquake hit village in Kavre district of Nepal. Pesticide free moisture proof/airtight food storage bags were provided to 1,055 households using financial support from UNICEF-Nepal. Thirty-three households were identified who could store food grains for 6-month for this study. Maize and rice grains were stored in porous and in moisture-proof hermetic bags. Food grain samples were collected at the beginning and at 6-month and were analyzed for physical quality parameters, nutrients and mycotoxins. About 92% insect damage occurred in maize stored in porous bags which was prevented in triple layer hermetic Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS) bags. Insect damage in paddy remained low within 10% in both treatments. Major maize nutrient loss occurred through insect damage. The traditional practice was to use insect and mold infested maize as feed. Mycotoxins results showed that toxigenic molds develop in open storage of improperly dried grains especially maize. Fusarium-related mycotoxins associated with stunting were detected in maize samples using LC-MS/MS equipment. Mature grains should be dried sooner to processing moisture contents and packaged into moisture-proof hermetic bags (Dry Chain) to minimize postharvest loss. A clear policy implication is that use of improved low-cost Dry Chain technology should be promoted to enable quality food systems.


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Author Biographies

Durga D. Poudel, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA

Durga D. Poudel is a Professor in School of Geosciences at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Lafayette, USA. He received his B.Sc. degree in Agriculture from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan, M.Sc. in Natural Resource Development and Management from Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand, and Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA. Dr. Poudel’s professional experience consists of Research Fellow at Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center, Taiwan; Graduate Research Assistant in Sustainable Agricultural and Natural Resource Management Collaborative Research Support Program, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA; and Visiting Research Scholar, University of California Davis, USA. Dr. Poudel joined the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, USA, as an Assistant Professor of Soil Science in August 2000. Dr. Poudel is a Board of Regents Professor in Applied Life Sciences at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Louisiana, USA. He is the Founder of Asta-Ja Framework.

Krishna Belbase, Evaluation Office, UNICEF, New York (Retd)

Krishna Belbase (Ph.D.,Cornell University, USA) is an international development and evaluation expert with 25 years (1992–2017) of progressively responsible positions with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in various roles involving program management, policy advocacy and evaluation covering both development and humanitarian fields. He has travelled to more than 60 countries and presented in many international conferences. His areas of specialization include food and nutrition security, development planning and social protection. He is affiliated with several international networks and remains active as a policy activist and advisor on international development and governance issues.

Marthe De Boevre, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Marthe De Boevre is a Professor of Clinical Mycotoxicology at Ghent University, Belgium. In 2013, she graduated from the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Ghent University with the Ph.D. dissertation ‘Chemical risks related to food and feed containing masked Fusarium mycotoxins’. In 2020, she received the prestigious ERC Starting Grant for her project ‘HuMyco’, a multi-disciplinary project combining both fundamental and applied sciences, and contributing to disease prevention by identifying possible risks for developing cancer as a result of mycotoxin contamination. She is a section editor ‘Human Health’ of the World Mycotoxin Journal. Together with Prof. Dr. Sarah De Saeger, she is a coordinator of MYTOX-SOUTH, which is an intercontinental partnership to improve food security & food safety through mitigation of mycotoxins at global level. This well-structured multi-disciplinary partnership, which deals with all known aspects of mycotoxins and toxigenic mould issues, is able to provide the most adequate strategies and solutions necessary for diverse stakeholders in the South.

Sarah De Saeger, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Sarah De Saeger is head of the Centre of Excellence in Mycotoxicology and Public Health at Ghent University, Belgium. She is coordinator of the international thematic network MYTOX-SOUTH. As a full professor she is teaching all food-related courses in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. The laboratory focuses on following research lines: mycotoxin detection methods, metabolomics and untargeted analysis, mycotoxins and human health, and exposomics. Research results are published in more than 360 A1 peer reviewed papers (h-index 48). She was an expert in EFSA CONTAM working groups (2011–2018) and of the Scientific Committee (SciCom) of the Belgian Federal Agency for Food Chain Safety (2015–2020). In June 2015 she established the Joint Laboratory of Mycotoxin Research of the Ghent University-Shanghai Jiao Tong University-Chinese Academy of Sciences (Shanghai Institutes of Biological Sciences). In 2015 she was awarded the Ghent University Prometheus Award for research.

Peetambar Dahal, University of California, Davis, USA

Peetambar Dahal, Seed and Nutrition Specialist, received Ph.D. in Plant Biology (1994) and MS in Vegetable Science (1989) from University of California, Davis, USA and BS (1974) in Agriculture from Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology (MPUAT), Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. He has an extensive working experience in Nepal including Plant Quarantine and Horticulture Seed Production. After graduation, he was involved in seed research and dissemination of seed technology to Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, India, Kenya, Tanzania through USAID Horticulture Innovation Lab. Currently, he is involved in bringing awareness on the need of scaling up seed concepts through different institutions for complementing disaster preparedness, food, and nutrition security in Nepal.


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