Newsletter: 2017 opportunities, next steps

Here is a copy of our first newsletter for 2017. If you’re interested, you can subscribe to receive future newsletters by email, or browse through our newsletter archives

Welcome to 2017! We hope that you are beginning your work this new year with bright eyes and renewed verve. Thank you for sharing our commitment to helping smallholder farmers better grow fruits and vegetables, as part of our Horticulture Innovation Lab network.

As we look to what’s next for horticulture internationally, we want to build on our innovations and achievements so far. This newsletter highlights some of our accomplishments from last year, while offering important opportunities for you and your colleagues to increase your involvement for greater global impact.

Cheers to our next steps together in advancing horticultural science to change lives, careers, and futures!


HIGHLIGHTING HORTICULTURAL SUCCESS IN 2016 Fresh off the presses, we bring you the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s newest annual report, documenting the program’s accomplishments for FY 2016 as part of the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative. Continue reading for a summary or find the whole article here:

Together with our research partners at universities, government agencies and NGOs, we took important steps this year in improving livelihoods of farmers and their communities through horticulture. Highlights include:

  • Increased income: From data of 60 farmers in Cambodia, it is evident that farmers can earn income from small commercial vegetable home garden plots. With sustainable intensification, earnings went as high as $500 per year per 100 square meters.
  • Better nutrition: Findings indicate that amaranth, an African leafy vegetable, is reliable as a rich source of magnesium and calcium.
  • Applied research: 473 farmers applied improved technologies or management practices with U.S. government assistance. Half of these farmers using new practices are women.
  • Increased conservation: Farmers in Cambodia are increasing the amount of their land under conservation agriculture for vegetable production.
  • Adoption of improved technologies: Three large seed companies in Bangladesh have adopted drying bead technology for drying their vegetable seeds.
  • Lesson learned: Time and money saved by having access to irrigation and growing more crops can lead women to adopt other forms of income-generating activities and enterprises.
  • Long-term trainees: Our program trained three postdoctoral associates and 31 students, including 10 bachelor’s, 15 master’s and 7 doctoral students. Half of students were female.
  • Short-term trainees: Horticulture Innovation Lab researchers also provided short-term training to 954 individuals.
  • New technology: Research included field testing or scaling of 130 new technologies (including seed varieties) and also increased dry storage for seeds by 9,201 cubic meters.

Read the whole article with access to the complete annual report here:



CONGRATULATIONS, FAREWELL TO BRITTA HANSENCongratulations to Britta Hansen who has accepted a new position and returned home to the University of Minnesota, where she will work as project manager for the Stakman-Borlaug Center for Sustainable Plant Health. With Britta’s leadership, the Horticulture Innovation Lab opened hubs and demonstration centers on three continents. She partnered with teams in Honduras and Thailand to run successful Horticulture Innovation Lab Regional Centers — and worked closely with many other partners in Zambia, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Kenya, Guatemala, Nepal, and Cambodia. We are going to miss her energy, but you may still run into Britta at global food security and plant disease events. Applications are now open for a new analyst to work at UC Davis with the Horticulture Innovation Lab and its Regional Centers:

CLIMATE-SMART GLOBAL LEARNING EXCHANGE IN CAMBODIAPartners Manuel Reyes of Kansas State University and Jate Sathornkich of Kasetsart University shared information about climate-smart agriculture practices and technologies at the CSA-GLEE event in December:

LOOKING BACK AT UC DAVIS INNOVATION LABS EVENT USAID’s Rob Bertram and congressional staff joined the UC Davis community for an event this fall recognizing the University of California’s contributions to ending global poverty and hunger, particularly through Feed the Future Innovation Labs:

MITCHAM AT UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS During International Education Week, Director Elizabeth Mitcham was the featured speaker for a Global Food Opportunities Seminar at the University of Arkansas:


*** IN THE NEWS ***

PHOTOJOURNALIST REPORTS FROM GUATEMALA The digital magazine TakePart published a photo essay this month on how Horticulture Innovation Lab partners are working to help farmers respond to climate change:

‘HOW UNIVERSITIES ARE SOWING SEEDS TO FEED THE FUTURE’ A reporter for Devex wrote about Feed the Future Innovation Labs, with an emphasis on technologies developed through Horticulture Innovation Lab partnerships:

ZAMORANO CENTER WORKING IN GUATEMALA The Horticulture Innovation Lab Regional Center at Zamorano was lauded in campus news recently for trainings with smallholder farmers in Guatemala. Article in Spanish:

BELL QUOTED IN NEWS ARTICLE ON OPEN DATA In a FastCo.Exist article about harnessing open data to solve agricultural problems, Mark Bell shared his thoughts about focusing on the needs of farmers:



JOB: PROGRAM OFFICER FOR HORTICULTURE INNOVATION LAB Jan. 13 is the final filing date for applicants interested in working at UC Davis with the Horticulture Innovation Lab and its Regional Centers in Honduras, Thailand, and Zambia. Please share with potential applicants:

EVENT AT UC DAVIS: FUTURE OF AFRICAN AGRICULTURE Seven African scholars will share their perspectives on food security strategies, Jan. 11:

FUNDING FOR DIGITAL DEVELOPMENT TO FEED THE FUTURE Jan. 13 is the deadline for brief pre-proposals for up to $100,000 from institutions in Feed the Future focus countries, related to improved uses of digital technologies for agricultural development through Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER):

POSTDOC FELLOWSHIPS: INNOVATIVE METHODS FOR AGRICULTURE, NUTRITION Concept notes are being accepted now until Feb. 1 for IMMANA Fellowships, with preference given to research applicants in Africa and Asia:

PROPOSALS: ACADEMICS WITHOUT BORDERS Feb. 1 is the deadline for proposals from universities in developing countries for small grants, up to $5,000 that include partnership with U.S. academics:

EVENT: ALL AFRICA POST HARVEST CONGRESS Feb. 28 is the deadline for discounted early registration to attend this postharvest conference sponsored by the Horticulture Innovation Lab, which will be held March 28-31 in Nairobi, Kenya:


*** WHAT’S NEXT FOR HORTICULTURE IN 2017? Check back with us for our next newsletter, share these highlights with your colleagues, and send us tips from your team for our next edition. Until then, you can connect with us on Twitter @HortInnovLab, by email at or on our blog:

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