“Reducing food losses and waste: Sustainable solutions for Africa” is the theme of the first All Africa Post Harvest Congress and Exhibition. The conference will be March 28-31 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The event will address aspects of postharvest management related to perishable crops, perishable animal products, non-perishable food commodities, capacity development, and related social issues that affect postharvest management.
Registration to attend the conference is $400, or $350 at early-bird rates before Feb. 28. A student rate is also available ($150 or $100 early). An optional excursion trip scheduled for March 28 is available for an additional $50.
The event is supported by a consortium of universities, research and development organizations — including the Horticulture Innovation Lab as one of its sponsors. In particular, the congress was organized by the Kenya Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, in conjunction with the World Food Preservation Center, hosted by the University of Nairobi, with strategic partnership from the Rockefeller Foundation. Continue reading Event: First All-Africa Postharvest Congress
Editor’s note: Michael Reid shares highlights from a five-day short course on postharvest handling of horticultural crops, funded and led by the Horticulture Innovation Lab in Tanzania this summer.
In July, Angelos Deltsidis and I travelled to Tanzania along with Marita Cantwell, our colleague from the UC Davis Postharvest Technology Center, to provide a training in postharvest handling of horticultural crops. The five-day short course was conducted at the Postharvest Training and Services Center on the World Vegetable Center (AVRDC) campus in Arusha. Ngoni Nenguwo, the AVRDC postharvest technologist, and Juma Shekidele from the Horticultural Research and Training Institute in Tengeru (called HORTI Tengeru) provided invaluable assistance in organizing and hosting the course. Ngoni also taught some of the course modules during the five-day course.
How to improve market opportunities for farmers growing tomatoes in West Africa and apricots in Central Asia are the main objectives of two new research grant opportunities from the Horticulture Innovation Lab.
September 12 is the deadline for research proposals for these two projects, each with funding up to $300,000 over two years. U.S.-based researchers are invited to apply in partnership with international scientists and organizations.
The research will provide evidence-based analysis to help smallholder farmers better connect with agricultural markets, through practices that address fruit quality, food safety, packaging, handling, processing, transportation, market analysis and other postharvest issues. The Horticulture Innovation Lab conducts collaborative research with funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, as part of Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.
While in Cambodia for the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s 2016 annual meeting, I arrived a few days early to visit a project that I have been advising remotely regarding postharvest practices. The project, led by Manny Reyes of North Carolina A&T State University, is working with women vegetable farmers who have been successfully practicing conservation agriculture in the Siem Reap region.
As a postharvest specialist, I was most interested in how the farmers are using some of the low-cost technologies that the Horticulture Innovation Lab is promoting around the world. Specifically, the project has built a cool room equipped with a CoolBot, as well as a grading table and a washing station in collaboration with Kasetsart University of Thailand and the World Vegetable Center (AVRDC). They are also working on a “tuktukbot,” which is a motorbike and trailer equipped with a cooled compartment to transport the produce for sale, maintaining the quality of the fresh produce during hot days.
During my visit I had the chance to meet the local project technicians Ren Ry and Sel Rechaney as well as local farmers. Together we explored farms, storage locations and different transportation vehicles, so I could monitor the trip of fresh gourds and chili peppers from harvest to grading, packing and storage in order to identify postharvest practices they could improve.
Editor’s note: In 2015, Angelos Deltsidis joined the Horticulture Innovation Lab team at UC Davis as our new international postharvest specialist. Now that he has had six months to begin working on projects, we thought it might be nice to officially introduce him to you and give you an idea of what his role will be at the Horticulture Innovation Lab.
Question: Tell us about your background and how you ended up at the Horticulture Innovation Lab.
Angelos Deltsidis: I studied horticulture in Greece at the University of Thessaly as an undergraduate. I’m from an agricultural region in northeastern Greece called Thrace, but my family is not directly related to farming per se. My grandparents had a family farm, but we would just visit for fun and grow some potatoes or tomatoes for us to eat.
In my second year of undergraduate studies, I was an exchange student at the University of Florida and worked with Dr. Jeff Brecht.
Fun fact: Dr. Brecht and my advisor at Thessaly, George Nanos, were both students of Adel Kader at UC Davis. They weren’t here at the same time as each other, but they kind of knew each other just because they were both students of Kader.