Editor’s note: Nick Reitz is a doctoral student in the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology, who participated in a Trellis Fund project led by the Methodist University College Ghana. Here Nick shares some details about his trip to Ghana for this project, which focused on food processing for mango farmers. Though Nick did not have previous experience with mangoes, he had a lot of knowledge to share about postharvest practices. The Horticulture Innovation Lab is currently recruiting graduate students for 15 new Trellis Fund projects in Africa and Asia.
Question: How does your work on this Trellis Fund project fit into your studies and career, as a Food Science grad student?
Nick Reitz: Prior to this project, I knew almost nothing about mangos. However, my background knowledge of postharvest biology and food processing technology mixed with a fair amount of research helped overcome this lack of knowledge. The basic science behind food preservation is the same regardless of what technology is available. If you know the basics, you can find a method and predict what will happen. Adapting my knowledge to the conditions and resources available in Ghana has been one of the most interesting parts of this project so far.
Editor’s note: Andra Williams recently completed work in Guinea as a UC Davis staff member with the Horticulture Innovation Lab (see details at the end of this post about our new team member in Guinea). In the wake of Ebola, the Horticulture Innovation Lab was asked to evaluate fruit and vegetable opportunities for West African farmers in Guinea. The resulting “Rapid Assessment of the Horticulture Sector in Guinea” report made several recommendations for ways to provide support to the country’s farmers — and the Horticulture Innovation Lab team was invited to share some of its existing horticultural knowledge by starting a new center in the district of Kindia. Here, Andra shares her experiences and accomplishments from working in Guinea.
Agriculture in Guinea has faced many challenges in recent years, with political instability and health crises, such as the recent Ebola outbreak, limiting agricultural research and farmer training.
In April I was sent to work in Foulayah, Guinea, as a project manager for the Horticulture Innovation Lab, tasked with establishing a farmer service and training center in the Kindia district, at the Centre de Recherche Agricole de Foulayah (CRAF), part of the government’s national agricultural research institute (Institut de Recherche Agronomique de Guinée or IRAG). Our goal was to create a local training center devoted to introducing farmers nearby to horticultural production tools and postharvest technologies by creating training modules for the community, including individual producers, women groups and farming cooperatives.
We hope this newsletter finds you well! We have been busy launching new research projects, preparing for upcoming events, and beginning student recruitment for a new round of Trellis Fund projects. Catch up with our latest news below, and please share opportunities with your colleagues who might be interested.
For horticulturists in the United States, fall means the American Society for Horticultural Science is gathering for its annual conference. Our team at the Horticulture Innovation Lab has been busy preparing to make the trip to Waikoloa, Hawaii, to meet with our partners, colleagues, and fellow horticulture innovators.
You can find members of the Horticulture Innovation Lab network in action every day in Waikoloa. For example:
We know many of our horticulture research colleagues will also be attending the ASHS conference, so let us know in the comments if you will be sharing a presentation or poster, so we can try to connect.
‘Nutrition Security’ special session hosted by the Horticulture Innovation Lab
Open to all ASHS attendees is the Horticulture Innovation Lab special session, “Food and Nutrition Security in the Developing World: Challenges and Opportunities,” 12-4 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 20 in the conference meeting room Kohala 1. The goal of this workshop is to have a dialogue about global food security and nutrition security issues and assess the impact of horticulture in certain countries using case studies.
Selected students will travel to Nepal, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda or Ghana while providing agricultural expertise to a local organization and their farming clientele.
Graduate students who are attending four of the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s partner universities — North Carolina State University, the University of Florida, the University of California, Davis, and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa — are eligible to apply. The deadline for applications is Oct. 27, 2017.
University students work with organizations in developing countries, to help farmers