Problems: Poor storage of grain can cause dramatic losses in grain post-harvest due to fungal infections and insect damage. Combined with the remote location of terrace farms and lack of frequent transport to cities, excess grain must be sold when possible to middlemen, even when the commodity price is low, rather than being stored until the situation is more profitable. With respect to high value fruits and vegetables, poor access to electricity in remote terrace farm areas, combined with poverty, prevent access to fridges to store these commodities which could otherwise be sold in cities to generate cash for women.

Our Solutions:

•To reduce rodent, fungal and insect damage of stored grain including legume seeds, we are procuring hermetically sealed technology (HST) storage bags which are inexpensive and prevent oxygen accumulation within the bags thus preventing pests and pathogens from living.

•We are testing and scaling up inexpensive, reusable bags for short-term storage of fruits and vegetables to prevent them from ripening, in the absence of refrigeration. The bags adsorb ethylene, a natural gas hormone produced by plants (including fruits) that would otherwise stimulate their own ripening as well as nearby plants/fruits.