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.
Keywords: Mycotoxins, Nutrition, Food Loss, Dry Chain, Climate Smart, Moisture-proof Hermetic Bags.
Abstract published in Strategic Planning for Energy and the Environment, Vol 39 Iss 3-4 2020. https://doi.org/10.13052/spee1048-4236.39147.