University of California - Davis
Nepal Agricultural Research Council (Nepal); Acharya N G Ranga Agricultural University, India (India); Rhino Research, Thailand (Thailand)
Peetambar Dahal; Jwala Bajracharya; Bhartendu Mishra; Keshavulu Kunusoth; Johan Van Asbrouck
High quality seeds of improved varieties are essential to enhance the production of annual horticultural crops. In tropical climates, high temperatures and humidities combine to cause rapid deterioration of seeds in open storage, resulting in loss of value, poor stand establishment, lower productivity and disincentive to invest in improved seeds. Most horticultural seeds in the targeted locations are locally produced or self-saved and are stored without facilities for drying them to moisture contents that would greatly extend their storage lives. We are demonstrating a simple, inexpensive and widely adaptable method for drying horticultural seeds and maintaining high seed quality during storage. A novel zeolite desiccant, combined with inexpensive hermetic containers, can both dry horticultural seeds and maintain them in a dry state during storage, greatly increasing their storage lifetime. As women perform most of the seed production, harvesting and storage operations for horticultural seeds in these regions, adoption of this system would have direct benefits by enhancing the value of their labor. This simple seed drying and storage system would enable the development and distribution of more productive varieties, marketing of higher quality products and increases in women’s and families’ incomes.