Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture
Building international partnerships for fruit and vegetable research that improves livelihoods in developing countries
Collaborating across borders for research: Our work along the horticulture value chain
The Horticulture Innovation Lab has supported collaborations with more than 200 organizations and universities on projects for smallholder farmers around the world. In the program’s first 5 years, these partnerships trained more than 38,000 individuals, including more than 14,000 farmers who improved their farming practices.
Most projects include partners from a U.S. university and from an organization in a developing country in Africa, Asia or Latin America, according to the U.S. government’s “Feed the Future” global food security strategy. The program’s research projects span the horticultural value chain:
- Seed systems and germplasm
- Sustainable production
- Reducing postharvest losses
- Improving food safety
- Advancing nutrition
- Improving extension
Regional Centers as horticultural hubs: Building local capacity, supporting innovation
The Horticulture Innovation Lab supports Regional Centers at local institutions to bring together key players for horticultural development activities in nearby countries. The program has two established centers — one at the Panamerican Agricultural School, Zamorano, in Honduras and one at Kasetsart University in Thailand — and is establishing a new center in Zambia at the University of Zambia. The centers focus on adapting innovative technologies, training farmers and exchanging information with Horticulture Innovation Lab projects and partners.
Trellis Fund makes new connections: Engaging graduate students in development
In addition to major projects, the Horticulture Innovation Lab has funded dozens of smaller Trellis Fund projects, which pair a U.S. graduate student with an organization in a developing country. In the first 47 completed Trellis Fund projects, 7,396 farmers participated in 219 field demonstration plots and more than 238 training meetings. Though smallholder farmers are the focus of Trellis Fund projects, the program also builds new relationships with organizations and provides development experience to tomorrow’s agricultural researchers.
About the Program
The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture — also known as the Horticulture Innovation Lab — is managed by a team at the University of California, Davis, in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, under the Department of Plant Sciences and the International Programs Office. Funding for the Horticulture Innovation Lab is provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development as part of Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative. Dr. Elizabeth Mitcham is the director of the Horticulture Innovation Lab. She is also a UC Cooperative Extension postharvest specialist and pomologist at UC Davis.
In 2009, the Horticulture Collaborative Research Support Program (Hort CRSP) was established at U& 'avis by USAI', to help the world’s poorest people break out of poverty through the production and marketing of high-value crops. Now called the Horticulture Innovation Lab, the program was awarded funding for an additional five years in 2014. The Horticulture Innovation Lab is one of five Feed the Future Innovation Labs currently led by UC Davis.
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