UC Davis ‘DryCard’ invention wins competition to reduce food loss in Africa

A new invention from UC Davis researchers won a competition as the top emerging technology to reduce food loss and waste across the African continent.

The low-cost tool, called the DryCardTM, shows farmers whether their dried food products are dry enough to store safely, reducing food losses and risks of mold and associated toxins.

The DryCard beat out more than 200 entries to win the grand prize in the “All Africa Postharvest Technologies and Innovation Challenge.” Top technologies and innovations were invited to pitch to an audience of about 600 participants, including private investors and international organizations, at the first All-Africa Postharvest Congress and Exhibition, March 31 in Nairobi, Kenya.

group holding DryCards with prize check
From left, Bertha Mjawa and Elizabeth Mitcham wave DryCards in victory as they accept the grand prize from organizers during the All-Africa Postharvest Technologies and Innovations Challenge. (Horticulture Innovation Lab photo by Erin McGuire/UC Davis)

Elizabeth Mitcham, director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture and a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in postharvest biology for the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, represented the DryCard during the competition.

“I have never seen such strong interest in a technology like this,” Continue reading UC Davis ‘DryCard’ invention wins competition to reduce food loss in Africa

Event highlights UC contributions to Feed the Future

How new innovations and research from the University of California are helping to end global poverty and hunger was the focus of a standing-room-only event recently at UC Davis. Among the participants recognizing these efforts were representatives from the offices of U.S. Representatives John Garamendi, Doris Matsui, Ami Bera, and Mike Thompson.

The event was hosted in part to highlight the passage of the Global Food Security Act of 2016, which sets the U.S. government’s global food security strategy and includes 24 agricultural research programs called Feed the Future Innovation Labs. Continue reading Event highlights UC contributions to Feed the Future

Horticulture takes the stage at World Food Prize

Horticulture, micronutrients and nutrition will play an important role at this year’s World Food Prize events and Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium, October 12-14 in Des Moines, Iowa.

This year’s World Food Prize laureates — Maria Andrade, Robert Mwanga, and Jan Low of the International Potato Center (CIP) and Howarth Bouis of HarvestPlus — were selected for their work with bio-fortification and orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, which provide a Vitamin A-rich alternative to other sweet potato varieties traditionally eaten in parts of Africa.

Accordingly, the theme of the Borlaug Dialogue will be “Let Food Be Thy Medicine” with an emphasis on the crucial role of nutrition in global food security.

Panel at Borlaug Dialogue Symposium

The Horticulture Innovation Lab’s director, Elizabeth Mitcham, will contribute to that discussion as a speaker at the Borlaug Dialogue. She will be Continue reading Horticulture takes the stage at World Food Prize

Mitcham honored as ASHS Outstanding International Horticulturist

Elizabeth Mitcham, UC Davis scientist, was honored by the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) as its Outstanding International Horticulturist for 2015.

She accepted the award Aug. 4 at the ASHS annual conference in New Orleans. The award recognizes distinguished contributions to horticultural sciences for 10 years or more, with emphasis on international activities and impacts.

portrait: Elizabeth Mitcham
Beth Mitcham, director of the Horticulture Innovation Lab and Postharvest Technology Center at UC Davis (high-res)

At UC Davis, Mitcham is director of both the Horticulture Innovation Lab and Postharvest Technology Center programs. As director of the internationally recognized Postharvest Technology Center, she has helped train professionals from more than 40 countries in how best to care for fruits and vegetables after harvest, to reduce food waste and improve food quality. She has hosted numerous foreign scientists and students in her lab at the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, where her research focuses on the regulation of fruit ripening, understanding calcium deficiency disorders, and maintaining fruit quality after harvest.

Mitcham also leads the Horticulture Innovation Lab, which targets fruit and vegetable research in developing countries to reduce poverty and improve nutrition. Her leadership helps build international partnerships between scientists and develop technologies that meet the horticultural needs of smallholder farmers. The program is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development as part of Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

“I’ve really become passionate about what horticulture can bring to reducing poverty and improving lives,” she said. “Meeting people who are now able to send their children to school or buy books—those one-on-one interactions are what really stick with me. It is so rewarding to be able to work in this field.” Continue reading Mitcham honored as ASHS Outstanding International Horticulturist