In many developing countries, seeds are still dried under the sun and are not stored properly. Hot and humid climates make seeds deteriorate rapidly, resulting in lower germination rate and lower yields.
Rhino Research, a seed technology firm in Thailand, has developed a fast and easy method for drying seeds and prolonging their shelf life in an efficient and cost-effective way.
The technology uses drying beads made of a zeolite-based desiccant that absorb moisture from the air to dry seeds and other horticultural commodities. When sealed with seeds in an airtight container, the beads lower the moisture content and maintain seed quality during storage.
The drying beads can be reused indefinitely by heating them in an oven, making them a valid investment for cooperatives of farmers.
In this audio slideshow, Patcharin Taridno of Rhino Research explains how these drying beads work and gives a hands-on demonstration of this novel technology.
This article has been produced by SciDev.Net's South-East Asia & Pacific desk.
How seed-drying beads can empower farmers in the tropics
Giovanni Ortolani, Paola Di Bella