Nepal: Market-Led Produce Safety
Unsafe and inadequate food consumption, along with low dietary diversity, contribute to foodborne illness and undernutrition in Nepali households. Increasing access to nutrient dense foods, including salad vegetables, can improve dietary diversity, but contamination of produce with foodborne pathogens undermines progress toward nutritional targets. Determining the current barriers to produce safety supply and demand is a foundation for strategic policies and investment to transform the vegetable value chain in Nepal.
This project, led by Aditya Khanal of Tennessee State University, is using food safety economics to understand the factors influencing production and consumption decisions about produce safety in Nepal. Together with colleagues at Arizona State University, Nepal Agriculture and Forestry University, and SAHAVAGI, they are assessing indicators of bacterial contamination in consumer and grower households, analyzing the food safety awareness and behaviors of vegetable producers and consumers, and identifying incentives for new food safety policies and practices.
Project outreach will promote greater gender equity and youth participation in safe produce production and support food safety-augmented entrepreneurship. By equipping entrepreneurs and policy makers with guidance for market-led, demand-driven food safety practices and labeling recommendations for fresh produce, informed by analysis of consumer behavior, the project aims to stimulate a rapid increase in access to nutritious produce in Nepal.