The horticulture sector in Bangladesh produces 3.2 million metric tons per year, but small-scale farmers suffer economic losses due to lack of high-yielding varieties, postharvest technologies, food safety issues and processing facilities. Among these issues, food safety problems from chemical and microbial contaminiation and unhygienic facilities affect the marketable produce, food quality and human health. Postharvest losses in Bangladesh are 38 percent, which accounts for significant potential income loss mostly to small-scale farmers, the majority of whom are women.
Led by Ronnie Coffman of Cornell University, this international team establishes the South Asia Consortium on Food Safety as a collaborative initiative by institutions from Bangladesh, India and the United States. The consortium is designed to be robust and flexible enough to expand to other nations in South Asia in the future. The consortium will work towards solving researchable questions, improving technical skills, good agricultural practices (GAPs), and capacity building in Bangladesh with the help of the scientific expertise available at U.S. institutions and in India. Involvement by Indian partners will strategically assist Bangladeshi partners with both research and training.