Nepal is a landlocked country of about 28.1 million people and it remains one of the poorest and least developed in the world. Nepal faces multiple climate-related and geological hazards, including floods, landslides, and earthquakes. Despite persistent poverty, human development indicators continue to show marked improvement. Nepal’s wide range of physical and social diversity, including its marked spatial variation in resources, has created and perpetuated of cultural identity. Nepal’s high rates of chronic malnutrition among children are of significant concern, with 41 percent of children stunted, 11 percent wasted, and 29 percent underweight in 2011. There is a belief that some of this malnutrition is due to mycotoxin contamination in the food supply. Mycotoxins have been shown to cause cancer, suppress the immune system and are associated with child stunting.
The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Post-Harvest is conducting a study to determine the prevalence of various types of mycotoxins that are present in maize, rice, wheat, chilies, selected spices, groundnuts and poultry and livestock feed. PHLIL is providing the technical expertise for the design and implementation of the survey assessment, working in consultation with the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), Nepal Development Research Institute, Helen Keller International, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (Australia), University of Nebraska - Lincoln, the Institute of Sciences of Food Production (Italy), Nutrition Innovation Lab and other partners.