Newsletter: Dry chain news, updates from our network

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As we wrap up this productive calendar year, we bring you updates about the dry chain, irrigation in Uganda, horticulture in Guinea, student advancement, gender discussions and new journal articles. We hope you too are harvesting the fruits of a productive year! Remember to let us know of any horticulture-related opportunities that we could share in our next newsletter.

‘DRYING BEADS’ FINDING SUCCESS WITH SEED COMPANIES IN BANGLADESH In humid Bangladesh, finding reliable vegetable seed can be a challenge — a situation that can ruin a crop before a farmer’s hard work even begins. But Bangladeshi seed companies are rapidly adopting drying beads to improve seed processing and storage, improving the local vegetable seed industry and helping farmers maximize the potential of their own hard work. Adoption of the drying beads has been supported with a multi-part training led by Rhino Research and supported by the Horticulture Innovation Lab.

“We concluded that these beads are drying our seeds faster and deeper, obtaining a better quality that results in a longer storage potential, and all this with lesser costs,” said Tabith M. Awal of Lal Teer Seed Limited in Bangladesh. “Therefore Lal Teer made the executive decision to move ahead with implementing these beads for all our seeds and crops as soon as possible.”

This year, more than 200 tons of vegetable seed have been dried and stored with drying beads — helping an estimated 100,000 farmers in Bangladesh access quality seed. Read more about this recent success:

NEW GRANT TO TEST DRYING BEADS WITH PRODUCE UC Davis researchers working with Rhino Research were awarded a new $790,000 research grant to test drying beads in a new way. Expanding upon their research with the Horticulture Innovation Lab focused on drying seed, the team’s new project will test using the drying beads to dehydrate produce in food processing. Read more about this new research project supported by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research:

‘DRY CHAIN’ EXPLAINED, IN NEW JOURNAL ARTICLE Researchers who have been working with the drying beads as well as the DryCard™ have a new publication that more formally establishes the concept of the “dry chain,” which includes dehydrating a product and maintaining its dryness throughout storage, as a way to preserve quality and prevent mold growth. Similar to the “cold chain” concept, the dry chain is particularly important for non-perishable foods in humid climates, to reduce postharvest losses and mycotoxin contamination. Read the Trends in Food Science & Technology article:


*** IN THE NEWS ***
UGANDAN PRESIDENT COMMENDS STUDENTS FOR IRRIGATION INNOVATION Students and faculty members at Busitema University have been working to help farmers with the Horticulture Innovation Lab, and President Yoweri Museveni took notice:

‘FEED THE FUTURE’ HIGHLIGHTS YOUTHFUL PARTNERS IN GUINEAOne of the young entrepreneurs working with a Horticulture Innovation Lab team in Guinea was featured in this success story, about expanding rural access to horticulture technologies:

USAID SCHOLARSHIP FOR CAMBODIAN GRAD STUDENT Student Rathana Nai is conducting her master’s thesis research on the vegetable cold chain with a Horticulture Innovation Lab project and recently received a USAID-funded scholarships at the Royal University of Agriculture:

UC DAVIS GRAD STUDENT SHARES INSIGHT ON IRRIGATION AND GENDER Student Julia Jordan wrote about her work with students and farmers in Uganda with the Horticulture Innovation Lab team led by Kate Scow, and shared the article on Agrilinks too:

GENDER TIPS HIGHLIGHTED ON AGRILINKS One of our original “5-Minute Lesson” blog posts written by Janelle Larson at Penn State was featured on the Agrilinks website as part of a thematic focus on gender:


SIMON HONORED FOR INTERNATIONAL IMPACT Our partner James Simon was honored with the 2017 Chancellor’s Award for International Impact at Rutgers-New Brunswick for his research and outreach in Africa:

OPENING A CENTER FOR HORTICULTURE IN WESTERN AFRICA Blog post from Andra Williams with the Horticulture Innovation Lab tells the story of our program’s recent work in Guinea to open a new horticulture center, as part of the long-term Ebola recovery effort there:

TRELLIS STUDENTS SHARE INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCES Students Tiare Silvasy of the University of Hawaii and Nick Reitz of UC Davis shared their experiences working with Trellis Fund projects in Q&A blog posts. On soil tests in Nepal: On postharvest for mangoes in Ghana:


JOURNAL ARTICLE: SWEET POTATO AND FOOD SECURITY IN GHANA Researchers from Penn State and Tuskegee University published a new article on food security, sweet potatoes and market proximity, based on work with a Horticulture Innovation Lab project:

JOURNAL ARTICLE: MICRONUTRIENT CONTENT OF VEGETABLE AMARANTH Researchers from Rutgers, Purdue University, and the World Vegetable Center published an article analyzing vegetable amaranth genotypes by yields and nutrient levels:


CONFERENCE: SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL INTENSIFICATION AND NUTRITION IN CAMBODIA Jan. 10-13 will be a conference at the Royal University of Agriculture with field trips to new technology parks with the Center of Excellence on Sustainable Agricultural Intensification and Nutrition:

ONLINE EVENT: MAKING FOOD AND MARKET SYSTEMS WORK FOR NUTRITION Jan. 25 will be a webinar hosted by ACDI/VOCA and Agribusiness Systems International to discuss overlapping approaches in market systems and food systems, as they relate to nutrition:

STUDENT OPPORTUNITY: BORLAUG SUMMER INSTITUTE ON GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY Feb. 14 is the deadline for graduate students to apply to participate in this 2-week summer program. U.S. citizens and students from Feed the Future countries are especially encouraged to apply:

VOLUNTEER: FRUIT TREE TRAINING IN SENEGAL Winrock International is seeking applicants for a Farmer-to-Farmer assignment with a master’s degree and fruit production knowledge:


*** ARE YOU READY FOR HORTICULTURE IN 2018? We hope you enjoyed this newsletter, and that the New Year finds you well. Until our next newsletter, you can connect with us on Twitter @HortInnovLab, by email at or on our blog:

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