Young entrepreneurs help Guinea’s farmers access postharvest innovation

A version of this article originally appeared as part of the Feed the Future newsletter

Golden rings of pineapple have already started to dry around the edges, fragrant as they soak up the sun’s heat beneath a sheen of clear plastic — on the way to becoming dried fruit.

Fatoumata Cissoko knows this routine of drying pineapple slices well. At 29, she runs a small dried fruit business in West Africa and has already spent three years trying out different drying methods on her parents’ farm in Guinea. She is confident of the entrepreneurial opportunities that are found after harvest — when excess fruit can be processed, dried, stored and sold later at favorable market prices — and she is working to expand her knowledge and share it with more farmers.

young woman digging with wheelbarrow
Fatoumata Cissoko works to prepare compost for a demonstration garden at the new horticulture training and services center on the IRAG campus in the Kindia district of Guinea. (Horticulture Innovation Lab photo by Andra Williams/UC Davis)

“The best thing about agriculture is being able to harvest the fruit of your work,” Cissoko said. “Farmers are happy when I bring them new things, like the possibility of drying their fruits and vegetables that they cannot sell. And that is a great satisfaction for me.”

She is part of a small team that has started a new horticultural training and services center as a way to boost rural entrepreneurship and agricultural prosperity. This effort is part of the long recovery from the Ebola outbreak. The burgeoning center is housed on a campus of Guinea’s national agricultural research institute, Institut de Recherche Agronomique de Guinée. For this new center, the research institute is partnering with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture, led by researchers at the University of California, Davis. Continue reading Young entrepreneurs help Guinea’s farmers access postharvest innovation

Cambodian farmers reach new buyers with a fresh approach

A version of this article originally appeared in the Feed the Future newsletter

Leaning into her tuktuk in Siem Reap, Eang Chakriya opens a cooler and takes out fresh wax gourds and other vegetables that have been carefully packed and chilled, showing them to a group of neighbors. Emblazoned on the tuktuk (a kind of motorized rickshaw) are images of farmers and the marketing motto, “Grown Right, Handled Right, Community Right.”

Chakriya sells nutritious vegetables directly to consumers in Cambodia as part of a farmers’ cooperative working with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture, led by the University of California, Davis.

The project’s research team is examining incentives that help farmers improve their agriculture practices. The researchers’ hunch is that farmers will adopt conservation agriculture practices (or “Grown Right” practices) if the team also helps them to adopt two other types of profitable practices that will increase their success: improved postharvest handling techniques and novel marketing practices.

So far, the idea seems to be working.

As a partner in this Feed the Future Innovation Lab, researchers from Continue reading Cambodian farmers reach new buyers with a fresh approach

Highlighting horticultural success in 2016

The Horticulture Innovation Lab’s newest annual report is fresh off the presses, documenting the program’s accomplishments from October 2015 – October 2016 (FY 2016) as part of the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative.

publication cover with Feed the Future logo for Horticulture Innovation Lab's annual report FY 2016
Read more about the Horticulture Innovation Lab in its 2015-2016 Annual Report (PDF).

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.

We welcome you to read about the knowledge and impact the Horticulture Innovation Lab generated this year on behalf of small-scale farmers in horticulture. Highlights include:  Continue reading Highlighting horticultural success in 2016

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

Feed the Future week: How can we #endhunger?

It’s Feed the Future week, a time to focus on the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

Our program is one of 24 Feed the Future Innovation Labs led by university researchers around the United States, and this week our leaders are converging on Washington, D.C., for several different events.

If you can’t make it to the events in Washington, D.C., you can check out some of the activity online with the hashtag #endhunger.

"We can #endhunger by __________" Feed the Future

Here at the Horticulture Innovation Lab, we focus our work on how agricultural science can improve food security, improve nutrition, and reduce poverty. Sometimes it’s easy for us to zoom in on the specifics — how to scale up irrigation, how to cool vegetables without electricity, how to grow a disease-resistant tomato plant — and forget about the big picture. So here’s a look at some of the ways we believe the Horticulture Innovation Lab network is helping #endhunger…

 

photo with American student and Bangladeshi scientist with text

Working across borders to improve agriculture

The nature of our program is collaborative research, which means we bring together scientists from U.S. universities with scientists, government Continue reading Feed the Future week: How can we #endhunger?