January 8, 2016  

Purdue hosting international post-harvest loss reduction meeting

This week, Purdue is hosting the initial technical meeting for APHLIS+, a project for the African Post Harvest Loss Information System. Purdue was chosen to host the meeting due to its recognized strength and experience in the area of post-harvest loss reduction and value-chain enhancement in developing countries, says Corinne Alexander, professor of agricultural economics.

APHLIS is a network of post-harvest experts in Africa, who feed data into an internet-based system that provides estimates of losses for cereals in African countries; the system itself is also referred to as APHLIS. Post-harvest losses of cereal grains in Africa are estimated at 10 percent to 23 percent of the grain produced, so reducing losses is critical to food security.  Having estimates of losses due to various causes is important to monitor reductions and assess the value of intervention strategies.

Although the original APHLIS project focused only on weight losses, APHLIS+ will include estimates of losses in terms of weight, economics, and nutrition. The goals of this initial APHLIS+ meeting are to share the project structure, initiate partnerships, consider certain technical aspects and decide on the governance implementation of the project.

The APHLIS+ project, led by scientists at the University of Greenwich in the United Kingdom, is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Twenty-five scientists from nine countries in Africa, Europe, North America, South America and the Caribbean will attend this week's meeting, including five Purdue researchers.

The researchers from Purdue participating in the meeting are Corinne Alexander, Dieudonne Baributsa, Mario Ferruzzi, James Lowenberg-DeBoer, and Suzanne Nielsen, all from the College of Agriculture. They help lead two of Purdue's major projects focused on post-harvest loss reduction in Africa -- the PICS project (Purdue Improved Crop Storage) and the USAID Food Processing Innovation Lab. 

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