Annual Report 2018-2019


Executive Summary

The Horticulture Innovations Lab’s global research network advances fruit and vegetable innovations, empowering smallholder farmers to earn more income while better nourishing their communities. In this final year of the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s second five-year contract, our global network delivered on their project objectives and the management entity successfully captured and disseminated their results.

The Horticulture Innovation Lab improves how smallholder farmers grow and sell fruit and vegetable crops, with research activities targeting all stages of the horticultural value chain from seed systems to marketing. The Horticulture Innovation Lab manages a portfolio of horticulture research projects primarily led by researchers at U.S. universities and actively working in 14 countries, including Uganda, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Tajikistan, Bangladesh, Thailand and Cambodia. During the year, 12,000 individuals received short-term training and 80 students received support for long-term training. Our projects have also enhanced their engagement of youth, supporting youth development as entrepreneurs. University curricula were improved in Honduras, Tajikistan, Rwanda, Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania. Over 5000 farmers and 250 organizations applied improved practices or technologies developed by Horticulture Innovation Lab projects, and projects scaled approximately 25 technologies. Our two Regional Centers and our Horticulture Center in Guinea are positioned to continue to serve as hubs to showcase and adapt horticulture best practices and technologies, and many of our project’s accomplishments will be sustainable into the future because of the strong capacity building that was achieved in local horticulture organizations through project activities. We are proud of the accomplishments of our extensive network of researchers to advance knowledge of how to use horticulture to increase income generation and reduce malnutrition in emerging economies.


In the final year of the Horticulture Innovation Lab’s second 5-year contract, the lab successfully captured and disseminated research results from 24 different projects. In the field, both best practices and new technologies were scaled at the farmer level and institutionally. Partner universities now have higher education curriculums in Tanzania, Guatemala, Honduras, Tajikistan, Rwanda, and Thailand. In Uganda, a training to government officials of farmer-led irrigation strategies resulted in a resolution to expand funding for small-scale irrigation. Further, In the field, new practices such as indigenous vegetable cultivation and marketing occurred, net houses to control pests were erected, and new integrated horticulture-livestock systems managed, among many other innovative technologies deployed. This resulted in an increase of $1,937,843 for farmers in 2019.

The management entity leveraged these findings to bring horticulture for development to the international stage by hosting the Colorful Harvest Conference in Washington, DC. This conference represented a nexus of thought leaders within horticulture for an outcome-driven conversation to advance global goals in nutrition, economic security, and resilience. This conference also brought together young leaders from around the world to discuss issues such as agribusiness, youth empowerment, and university capacity building. To advance the capacity of horticulture researchers and agriculture professionals the Horticulture Innovation Lab also hosted a 9-part web series that spanned postharvest curriculum, gender- sensitive programming, and extension models; 140 individuals from 4 different continents joined over the 9-week course. The Empowering Women in Honduras project strengthened the overall capacity of the USAID research system by hosting a two-day “Gender Across the Innovation Labs” workshop that brought together research innovation lab professionals to better understand how to advance gender awareness in program management.

In recognition for this work, the Horticulture Innovation Lab showcased the Building Safe Vegetable Value Chains in Cambodia in the Washington Post to demonstrate the importance of US research in building capacity abroad. The lab created 10 videos to highlight research results and draw attention to local entity participation and success. Finally, the management entity received the results of a contracted independent evaluator that praised the lab’s interdisciplinary approach and dedication to cross-cutting themes of gender awareness, capacity building, and nutrition-sensitive agriculture.

See the complete Annual Report 2018-2019 for additional information.