Horticulture Innovation Lab in Africa

Africa map with Horticulture Innovation Lab project highlights - Advancing the science of postharvest loss reduction, Innovating with farmers to improve irrigation in Uganda, Scaling up nets for pest-exclusion in Kenya, Training new postharvest experts in Tanzania, Improving nutrition with African vegetables, Identifying horticultural opportunities in Guinea
Select Horticulture Innovation Lab projects in Africa, from a poster displayed at a conference focused on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) held at UC Davis in 2017.

The Horticulture Innovation Lab has research teams working in several African countries to advance horticultural science in relation to nutritious vegetables, reducing postharvest losses, improving fruit and vegetable production, helping smallholder farmers access appropriate irrigation solutions and other research topics related to fruit and vegetable production.

More information about the Horticulture Innovation Lab's projects are available in fact sheets focused on the program's activities and research investments in three African regions:

One of the program's major projects is focused on improving nutrition with African indigenous vegetables in Kenya and Zambia. This five-year project incorporates team members and lessons learned from previous projects in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia that focused on various aspects of the value chain for African indigenous vegetables.

Another major project is focused on reducing postharvest losses in Rwanda, which takes a systematic approach to the complex challenges and business opportunities inherent in postharvest stages of horticultural crops. The research project includes evaluations of postharvest losses across four different value chains, establishing postharvest training and service centers (PTSCs) in three locations, and building entrepreneurial capacity for stakeholders to capture value while reducing losses.

In 2015 during the wake of the Ebola outbreak, the Horticulture Innovation Lab was contracted to conduct a "Rapid Assessment of the Horticulture Sector in Guinea," as part of USAID's long-term response to the region. After the report, the program also began work in Guinea to establish a youth-led Horticulture Training and Service Center to share horticultural innovations with the region while engaging local youth in profitable endeavors. 


Gloria Essilfie

Dr. Gloria Essilfie (nee Tetteh) is a Food Microbiologist who has also specialized in Postharvest Technology. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Crop Science, University of Ghana leading programmes in postharvest especially postharvest food safety and quality assurance.

Atanda Oladejo

Dr Atanda S. Oladejo is a researcher and lecturer in the Department of Crop Production and Protection, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile–Ife, Nigeria; and a former research fellow at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan – Nigeria.

Developing innovative horticulture technologies for improved income and livelihoods among women small-scale producers in Uganda

Led by Robert Kajobe,
The theory of change in this project identified the problem of losses in horticultural crops during the pre-harvest, post-harvest and marketing stages in Uganda. The overall goal of this project is to increase financial independence and improve the livelihoods of small-scale women vegetable farmers. To achieve this goal, we will evaluate different agronomic practices for reduced loss; evaluate different postharvest practices for reduced loss in vegetables; and evaluate different marketing and market access strategies for vegetables by women farmers. This is expected to lead to improved household nutrition status; increased sales of vegetables; and increased household income status of small-scale women farmers.