Horticulture and Nutrition in Bangladesh – Angelos Deltsidis, UC Davis

Horticulture and Nutrition in Bangladesh – Angelos Deltsidis, UC Davis

October 12, 2019 0 By Ewald Bahringer


Hello everyone, I am Angelos Deltsidis and
I work for the Horticulture Innovation Lab of UC Davis, and I’ll talk to you about
our project in Bangladesh which is Aquaculture-Horticulture for Nutrition and it’s in collaboration
with Tufts. So our project is, as I said, in collaboration with the Nutrition Innovation
Lab, and we are examining the effect of implementing different new technologies on the income,
nutrition and health levels of households in the country. As you see here we have some
tests done as a baseline survey, and we are also examining the horticulture and aquaculture
practices as well as consumption patterns beforehand. We are doing the technology implementation
and then we are going to go back to the same families and do a survey. Our chimney dryer
is an innovative design. The dry air is entering from the front of the dryer, it gets heated
up, takes the humidity out of the product, and escapes through a chimney. Here you see
a cross-section of the dryer. The product is dried on the trays. The box on the bottom
helps the temperature rise and the polyethylene film traps the temperature of the hot air
in the dryer. The big advantage of the drier is it’s very efficient and cheap. The cost of drying
capacity is about 7 dollars per kg/day versus 27 dollars per kg/day. We are going to work
on fish as well. Fish in Bangladesh is dried usually on the ground or in racks or trays. And because they have an insect problem they use insecticides, which is really bad. So
with the chimney dryer we are going to have healthier products and probably cheaper. Cooling
is another very important aspect which is the most fundamental thing to think about
through use of food losses. It allows farmers to consolidate product and make profit later
when they sell it. That’s a CoolBot cool room. It’s just an insulated room but uses
a household air conditioner and is pretty easy to construct around the world with readily
available material. So what do we use? We are using a domestic air conditioner, either
a window or split unit, and that little controller on the top right which is called CoolBot.
It allows the air conditioner to achieve low temperatures by tricking the air conditioner
sensors. This way we have lower electricity costs and lower construction costs because
we don’t have to pay for a commercial cooling technology. So how does it work? The CoolBot
tricks the air conditioner and heats the temperature sensor of the thermostat of the air conditioner
so that it thinks it is warm in the room. It keeps working and it drops the temperature
down to 2 or even 0 degrees Celsius. According to experience in Bangladesh, construction
takes a lot of time, and electricity is a big problem all over the developing world. We
can do either long-term or short-term storage but we prefer short-term because it is more
convenient for the farmers. The cost is about 9,000 dollars total in Bangladesh and the most
important part of it is the insulation panels and the generator back-up. So we can do even
solar lately and it’s getting cheaper but still about 5,000 dollars which is usually
the battery cost. The challenges is the rainy season because it doesn’t have a lot of
sunshine in Bangladesh during that period and it’s warm. Next is the floating garden.
It is a tradition in Bangladesh to make water hyacinth beds and then grow vegetables on
these beds. So we modified that design and we made something like what you saw earlier.
And we are using local materials or low cost inputs to create these floating gardens, about
70 dollars without labor. So how do we make that? We are making a bamboo raft as you see
on the top left and we are using bamboo sticks to make the base and the wall of it and we
attach on the bottom second-hand, empty containers to make it float. We launched that raft in
the water, in the fish pond, and we fill it in with coconut oil or other growing mediums.
We sow the seeds, we water it, and we put it in the middle of the pond so it gets enough
sunshine. As you can see on the next slide, the seeds grow very well, they all germinate,
and we are having multiple harvests in a very short time. Our farmers really love it and
are really happy to work with it.