The Innovation Lab for Horticulture's global research network advances fruit and vegetable innovations, empowering smallholder farmers to earn more income while better nourishing their communities. The program is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development and led by a team at the University of California, Davis, as part of the U.S. government's Feed the Future initiative.

The program team and its projects help the world's poorest people break out of a persistent cycle of poverty by improving smallholder farmers’ abilities to grow and sell high-value crops. Improving livelihoods — through higher profits and diversified, nutrient-rich diets — is a primary goal for the Innovation Lab for Horticulture's research efforts around the world. The program’s work is guided by ensuring gender equity, improving information access, targeting innovative technologies and increasing research capacity.

Innovation Lab for Horticulture projects span the value chain of fruit and vegetable production, from seed systems to postharvest processing. Individual projects are led by U.S. university researchers with collaborating partners in developing countries, with funding from $40,000 to $2 million. Collaborations have included more than 18 U.S. universities and 200 organizations in more than 30 countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Through partnerships and collaborative research, the program also aims to build the capacity of researchers, institutions and farmers to advance horticultural science.

Goals and objectives

Program Goals: Through collaborative research, extension, and capacity building, the Innovation Lab for Horticulture works to build resilience and end poverty by:

  • Advancing horticultural science, from seed to consumption
  • Creating economic opportunities for smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs
  • Improving dietary diversity and nutritional status
  • Empowering women, youth, and the most vulnerable
  • Facilitating the exchange of innovative ideas and technologies

Program Objectives:

  • Identify and address key knowledge gaps through research and development of innovative technologies.
  • Increase stakeholder access to and adoption of reliable information and technologies to improve the horticulture value chain.
  • Build capacity of stakeholders to conduct research and effectively apply and disseminate information and innovative technologies.