Training postharvest partners in Tanzania’s horticulture sector

Michael Reid
Michael Reid, Horticulture Innovation Lab Leader, Technology and Innovation

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.

The 40-plus attendees came from Continue reading Training postharvest partners in Tanzania’s horticulture sector

What’s growing at the Horticulture Innovation Lab Demonstration Center at UC Davis

Thriving vegetable plants, new experiments in progress, visitors exploring agricultural tools, and an upcoming gardening contest have been keeping the team behind the Horticulture Innovation Lab Demonstration Center busy recently.

Here’s an update about what we’ve been cultivating at our center on the UC Davis campus.

Exploring postharvest technology demonstrations

Group with chimney solar dryer demonstration with pineapple and kale IMG_4878eds
Jim Thompson, UC emeritus specialist, demonstrates his chimney dryer design with slices of pineapple and kale to UC Davis Postharvest Short Course participants.

About 65 visitors from 12 countries toured through the Horticulture Innovation Lab Demonstration Center on campus last week, as they participated in the UC Davis Postharvest Technology Short Course. The group of researchers, students and agricultural professionals were participating in a two-week course to learn about the science behind caring for fruits and vegetables after harvest, to increase quality and reduce postharvest losses.

The visitors rotated through demonstrations of some of the low-cost technologies that Horticulture Innovation Lab researchers use with farmers in developing countries—including a solar-powered CoolBot, the UC Davis chimney solar dryer, and the zero-energy cooling chamber.

Undergraduate UC Davis student planting seedlings in garden bed with solar dryer chimneys in background IMG_4054
Elise Brockett, student farming assistant, transplants spider plant into the African garden bed at the Horticulture Innovation Lab Demonstration Center at UC Davis.

African vegetables growing

Elise Brockett, our student farming assistant, transferred vegetables Continue reading What’s growing at the Horticulture Innovation Lab Demonstration Center at UC Davis

Building a solar dryer at Bangladesh Agricultural University

portrait: Elizabeth Mitcham
Beth Mitcham, director of the Horticulture Innovation Lab

Angelos Deltsidis and I traveled to Bangladesh in January for meetings related to a collaborative project we’re working on with the Nutrition Innovation Lab and other partners. While we were there, we had a chance to work with faculty and students at Bangladesh Agricultural University to build a chimney solar dryer for drying fresh produce.

Though I have been to Bangladesh many times before, this was my first time visiting Bangladesh Agricultural University and the nearby city of Mymensingh. As you can see in the photos, the weather was surprisingly cold during our visit!

While there, we met with Continue reading Building a solar dryer at Bangladesh Agricultural University

Agricultural innovations at Kasetsart University, in SciDev.Net video

A video from SciDev.Net explores agriculture technologies at Kasetsart University in Thailand, aimed at the needs of smallholder farmers of horticultural crops.

The audio slideshow, “Simple agricultural innovation to empower farmers,” takes a closer look at several low-cost farming tools, including:

  • a cold room with a CoolBot for cooling fruits and vegetables after harvest
  • two solar dryers, including the UC Davis chimney dryer for drying produce
  • a solar-powered pump with drip irrigation system

Reporter Giovanni Ortolani interviewed Poonpipope Kasemsap, professor at Kasetart University, whose comments provide narration for most of the video.

“A lot of things can be done with a small investment, with innovations, in order to help the farmers so that they can live better lives,” Kasemsap says in the video. Continue reading Agricultural innovations at Kasetsart University, in SciDev.Net video

Our newest center, here at UC Davis

In a corner of the UC Davis campus, there is a new garden plot with fresh mulch, thriving vegetable plants, young seedlings, and a small shed.

Until this week, there were no signs on this mysterious plot. If you’re at UC Davis, you may have walked by and wondered, “What’s growing on over there?”

This is the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s new center at UC Davis, a work in progress.

Campus map shows new garden plot between Environmental Horticulture buildings and Nelson Hall for the Horticulture Innovation Lab's new Center at UC Davis, in progress.
Wondered what is growing in this corner of campus? This map shows the location of the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s Center, demonstrating vegetables and tools from the program’s work in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Though our program is headquartered here in California, the Horticulture Innovation Lab has two Regional Centers at universities in Honduras and in Thailand. These centers demonstrate agricultural technologies that can help smallholder farmers Continue reading Our newest center, here at UC Davis