Agriculture News

May 20, 2019

USAID awards $3 million to Purdue's Feed the Future Innovation Lab

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded $3 million to Purdue University to extend the work of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Processing and Post-Harvest Handling (FPL), which the university leads, for another three years. 

The faculty-led, multi-disciplinary FPL works to reduce food losses and enhance the value of foods in Africa. The project’s objective is to develop sustainable, market-driven value chains that reduce food losses, improve food and nutrition security, and contribute to economic growth for smallholder farmers and food processing entrepreneurs in Kenya and Senegal.  Six Purdue faculty researchers and seven from other universities and national agricultural research organizations in Africa will work to support and strengthen crop “value chains,” the process by which crops go from farm to market to fork.  The project will build on Purdue’s strong record of working with collaborators to reduce post-harvest losses, enhance agricultural value chains, and improve nutrition.

In 2014, USAID first awarded the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Processing and Post-Harvest Handling to Purdue, with a grant of $5 million over five years.

In the three-year extension, Purdue will focus on driving the value chain through food processing to increase commercialization and improve nutrition. The secondary focus will be on scaling up cost-effective drying and storage technologies for crops after harvest and providing training to farmers on these technologies.                                                                          

Experts say food production will need to double by 2050, when the world’s population is expected to increase to almost 10 billion people, from the 7.7 billion today.  Increasing production is only one means to meet the growing demand.  An estimated one-third of food produced in developing countries is lost due to poor post-harvest handling techniques and limited market opportunities.  

“Our Feed the Future Innovation Lab focuses on reducing food losses along the value chain, producing nutritious and acceptable foods, and improving livelihoods,” said Jacob Ricker-Gilbert, associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue and the project director.  “In the first phase of the project, we developed and identified a number of innovative practices and technologies to help African farmers, traders, and food processors.  In the second phase, we will emphasize commercializing and scaling-up these innovations to maximize our impact.”

“This award enables Purdue to continue to find innovative solutions to reduce food losses after harvest. Our efforts will help smallholder farmers and food processing entrepreneurs expand availability of healthy and nutritious food in a region of the world where food security remains a challenge,” said Jerry Shively, associate dean and director of international programs in Purdue’s College of Agriculture.

"Innovation and research are cornerstones of the Feed the Future model for reducing global hunger and are both good for America and our partners abroad," said Jennifer Long, director of the Office of Agricultural Research and Policy in USAID's Bureau for Food Security. "We are excited to continue partnering with Purdue University to bring technological advancements in post-harvest loss to tackle global food security."   

About Feed the Future

Feed the Future is the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative.  It focuses on transforming lives and on the root causes of poverty, hunger, and malnutrition.  To achieve this, Feed the Future works hand-in-hand with partner countries to develop their agriculture sectors and break the vicious cycle of poverty and hunger.  It helps people feed themselves and creates important opportunities for a new generation of young people, while building a more stable world.  More information:  https://www.feedthefuture.gov/

Media relations contact: Maureen Manier, mmanier@purdue.edu 

Source: Jacob Ricker-Gilbert, jrickerg@purdue.edu 

Agricultural Communications: 765-494-8415;

Maureen Manier, Department Head, mmanier@purdue.edu  

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