The UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Postharvest Technology Center and International Programs Office, in collaboration with the World Food Logistics Organization, hosted a three-day planning workshop entitled: Identification of Appropriate Postharvest Technologies for Improving Market Access and Incomes for Small Horticultural Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Three members of the Horticulture CRSP management team were involved in organizing and leading this workshop.
The workshop provided an opportunity to review the results from a $1 million planning grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which assessed postharvest losses of horticultural crops in several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, and reviewed previous development projects on horticultural crop handling and marketing. The workshop was attended by 51 individuals representing a range of organizations involved in various capacities of horticultural development. A number of the participants were postharvest scientists, but the majority were from international agricultural development organizations, and many flew in directly from posts in West Africa and South Asia. Together, the participants represented a broad range of cultures and expertise; their diverse backgrounds and skill sets fostered lively discussions about international development and postharvest handling of fruits and vegetables, and fresh ideas emerged from the calculated fray.
The goals of the workshop were to harness the experience and expertise of the participants and identify the problems and potential solutions in postharvest handling of horticultural crops in the developing world. The participants worked to formulate potential project proposals, and identify the next steps in future development work on postharvest horticulture.
The main objectives of the workshop were:
- To review horticultural project activities and progress to date.
- To develop a vision for large scale Postharvest Horticultural Development projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (for subsequent submission to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation).
- To develop the proposal templates for the pilot projects directed towards achieving that vision.
A task force was developed who will work together to develop a concept paper for postharvest horticulture development that will be presented to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The proposal will include activities in Sub-Saharan Africa and in South Asia and will include development of regional centers of excellence as well as targeted activities with local farmer organizations to increase capacity and market information.