Introduction from the director
– Ronald E. Voss, Feb. 2011
It has been a great year for horticulture, a great year for horticulturists, and the beginning of a great journey toward higher income and improved nutrition and health by millions of rural poor smallholder farmers throughout the world. The U.S. Government confirmed its commitment to horticulture as a valuable component of addressing poverty and hunger in the world. Numerous institutions and horticulturists around the world were provided a new resource to combine efforts in conducting and adapting research and in developing information in a meaningful and organized platform. The poor, hungry and undernourished rural populace were offered new hope with additional opportunities to improve their nutrition and their incomes.
The Horticulture CRSP was initiated and funded by the US Agency for International Development in 2009 as the 9th active Collaborative Research Support Program. The Horticulture CRSP is the U.S. Government’s response to a recent, internationally conducted Global Horticulture Assessment. Implementation and management of the Horticulture CRSP was awarded to the University of California, Davis and its partners, Cornell University, University of Hawai’i and North Carolina State University.
The purpose of Horticulture CRSP is to reduce poverty and hunger of the rural poor in developing countries through horticulture. Horticulture has the capability to provide a diverse cropping system, provide healthy and nutritious food, and to provide an increased income to smallholder farmers. With the themes of innovative technology, gender equity, access to information, and building local human and institutional capacity, the Horticulture CRSP Managing Entity designed and developed a Program that utilized existing technologies and expertise throughout the U.S. Land Grant System to collaborate with developing country expertise to initiate Immediate Impact Projects (IIPs). These 15 IIPs were established in 20 countries with leadership from ten 1862 and 1890 Land Grant Universities. As we move into 2010-11, fifteen more projects will be added.
The Horticulture CRSP has implemented a large number of projects in a large number of countries, engaging a large number of U.S. researchers and large numbers of in-country institutions and organizations. As such, it addresses rural poverty and hunger in a large number of international communities while emphasizing the quantity of readily adaptable horticulture research knowledge and technology that already exists to solve poverty, nutrition, and health issues of the developing world. It also exemplifies the multiple ways that horticulture can address these issues:
- low cost but effective postharvest technologies - ranging from on-farm and local community cooling facilities to solar drying of fruits and vegetables for preserving quality - that quickly reduce the amount of fruits and vegetables that are lost before human consumption can occur - currently ≥40% in the 20 focus developing countries;
- new, low cost technology to maintain vegetable seed quality and thus providing smallholder farmers the opportunity to achieve the full genetic potential for production; and
- introduction of new horticulture crops, including development of production methodologies, that enhance human nutrition and/or enable high value cash crops – e.g. orange flesh sweet potatoes, indigenous leafy green African vegetables, herbs/spices/medicinal plants.
To enable the Horticulture CRSP Theme of Information Technology, a web-based Knowledge Bank was constructed, with continual additions and improvements. Compiling horticulture knowledge, in cooperation with the Global Horticulture Initiative, the UC Davis International Programs Office, and numerous other established organizations and institutions provides the Horticulture CRSP Annual Report 2010 2 opportunity to access information and solutions to a myriad of needs and opportunities. Platforms for utilization of the Knowledge Bank include Regional Centers of Excellence, being developed in South Asia, Southeast Asia, East Africa, West Africa, and Latin America. Community Development is an essential component to adaptation and adoption of new technologies and application of known information. Newsletters, social networking technologies, and other electronic forms of information dissemination are being used.
Our Theme of Gender Equity is essential to make certain that small holder women farmers are included in all aspects of the Program. Women, who are the primary horticulture farmers in many areas of the developing world, are the primary “clientele” of all Horticulture CRSP projects.
The Theme of ‘Leapfrog’, Innovative Technologies ensure that smallholder farmers have access to the most modern technologies but at an appropriate scale and cost. The “CoolBot” produce cooler, seed drying beads, solar dryers, and orange flesh sweet potato flour are a few examples that were introduced during this first year.
The USAID Collaborative Research Support Programs are unique in that they have a strong research component and they emphasize human and institutional “Capacity Building”. Both are foundation components for communities and countries to become self-sufficient in developing, delivering and implementing horticulture information and technologies and not depend upon external inputs indefinitely. Thus, all Horticulture CRSP projects conduct adaptive research in the local communities with local and national collaboration and leadership. All projects include training of graduate students, scientists, academics, farmers, and local leaders. Projects and the technologies developed or used are reviewed for their local success and also their potential to be broadly adapted, scaled, and for long term sustainability. Linkages with the private sector are an important component of this large scale adaptability and long term sustainability.
The Horticulture CRSP is fortunate to have a dedicated and talented Management Entity staff at UC Davis; a combination of experienced and internationally regarded academics, exceptional support staff, and enthusiastic graduate students. Our partner Universities bring a complementary experience in geographic and subject matter as well as a proven long term commitment to international agriculture. The International Advisory Board members bring individual credentials of greatest repute, international experience, academic status, and diverse international backgrounds.
See the whole Annual Report 2009-2010 document for more details, including the sections listed below:
- Innovative Technology
- Information Access
- Gender Equity
- Capacity Building
Immediate Impact Project reports:
The program awarded nearly $2 million to support 15 one-year projects to improve the production and marketing of horticultural crops and products developing countries. The collaborative research effort is responsible for a broad range of activities demonstrating how horticulture can reduce hunger and malnutrition and raise the incomes of the rural poor. Ten universities conducted projects in 20 developing countries. These projects will be completed in spring 2011.