Horticulture Innovation Lab Project

Horticulture Collaborative Research Program (Hort CRSP), now Horticulture Innovation Lab Project, is towards completion. This was a three-year project starting from September, 2011 and implemented by CEAPRED in two districts, Rukum (Midwest) and Kavre (central region) in collaboration with International Development Enterprises (IDE/Nepal) and Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC).  University of California at Davis has been the global lead agency of this project.

The main objective of this project was to maintain the seed quality in transportation and storage by applying dry chain approach using bead/zeolite and/or natural sun drying technique, and packing the dried seeds in airtight containers for a longer period of time. The simple underlying concept used was: “Make dry, Keep dry”.

CEAPRED’s role in this project was to pilot test the dry chain approach in vegetable seeds – onion, okra, bean, cucumber - selected in order of importance from the potential storage loss point of view. Onion was purposely selected as the existing farmer’s practice was unable to maintain the desired seed moisture since the seeds are  harvested, processed, stored and transported in rainy season when the ambient atmospheric moisture is prohibitively  high (RH close to 100%).   This creates a very favorable weather condition to attract several fungi and insects causing heavy economic loss to farmers. Several trainings and technical backstopping were provided by the national and UC Davis professionals, and dry chain technology was demonstrated in farmer’s fields and action research to validate the field findings was carried out in CEAPRED Seed Lab and site labs set up by the project. Before the introduction of this technology, farmers used to soak the onion seed in water to collect the bold seeds. The farmers were not aware that soaking seeds in water deteriorates the seed quality. By the end of the project, farmers are convinced about this technology. Now, farmers dry the seeds in sun and package in the air tight PICS bag/grain- pro bags after drying the seeds in sun to achieve the required moisture content. About four metric tons of onion seeds dried with dry chain technology have been marketed from Rukum to different seed entrepreneurs.