Beginning on February 2, 2015 the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss will offer a Coursera course on global PHL to provide stakeholders worldwide with an overview of PHL issues, practices, perspectives, and solutions.
This course, titled “Global Postharvest Loss Prevention: Fundamentals, Technologies, and Actors”, is intended for professionals, practitioners, and students with an interest in food security, sustainability, rural development, and other related topics. Participants do not need prior experience with PHL issues.
Upon completion, participants will
- have an enhanced understanding of global situations of PHL,
- be familiar with the whole food supply chain from harvest to market,
- gain fundamental knowledge of the postharvest technologies and their applications in developed and developing countries worldwide, and
- have an enhanced appreciation of the costs and benefits of postharvest technologies.
The course is 4 weeks long, and is free and available online to anyone, anywhere. You can register here: https://www.coursera.org/course/postharvestloss
The ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss is currently working on a learning assessment of global food loss as part of a grant funded with financial support from the Rockefeller Foundation for the Waste and Spoilage in the Food Chain Development Initiative. This effort has led to opportunities to highlight areas of focus in postharvest loss and development projects. More information about thie grant can be found here.
At the Alliance for a Green Revolution Forum 2014, Rockefeller Foundation and AGRA co-hosted a side event on “Reducing Post Harvest Loss and Food Waste”. A short video was prepared for that session to highlight some of the lessons learned within the ADM Institute research effort. As the narrator of the video, Dr. Steve Sonka, Research Professor at the ADM Institute, addresses the following questions: 1) why is reduction of postharvest loss important; 2) can smallholder farmers in Africa employ the technologies needed to reduce postharvest loss; 3) why haven’t we seen widespread adoption of technologies to reduce PHL in developing countries; and 4) what are the central learning lessons offered by the examples mentioned?
On May 28th, 2014, Dr Tofael Ahamed delivered a lecture titled, “An Overview of Postharvest Loss of Cereals, Fruits, and Vegetables in Bangladesh: Identification of Losses in the Supply Chain” as a part of the ADM Institute PHL Expert Seminar Series. Dr. Ahamed presented data on physical losses of rice, wheat, and maize at different supply chain stages and economic losses of fruits and vegetables in Bangladesh. He pointed out that farmers in east region of Bangladesh usually have higher education level, higher rate of sharing machinery, and are more capable to buy machinery. At the end of the presentation, Dr. Ahamed recommended using a system approach to address the postharvest loss issues. More details can be found in the video compilation of his presentation below.
Dr. Ahamed is an Associate Professor, Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Japan. Prior to this position, Dr. Ahamed worked for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, University of Tsukuba, Japan and Bangladesh Agricultural University. He received his PhD from the University of Tsukuba.
President Robert Easter's Perspective
Dr. Robert Easter discusses the importance of reducing postharvest loss - every unit of loss means increasing production with more inputs. He indicates that the state of awareness on postharvest loss in the United States is growing. The State Department is aware of the problem, and ADM, as a leading agricultural company, has great insight to engage in solving the problem. Robert also perceives that becoming involved in postharvest loss issues is an opportunity for the University of Illinois to educate students and to expand the knowledge base. Additionally, he highlights the significance of providing adaptable and affordable technology in countries with small-scale farming, such as India.
Robert Easter received his B.S. and M.S. in Agricultural Education at Texas A&M University, and he graduated with a Ph.D. in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois in 1976. After acquiring his Ph.D, Robert served as a faculty member of the Department of Animal Sciences at University of Illinois. He became head of the Department of Animal Sciences in 1997, and Dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences in 2002. Robert served as interim Chancellor from 2009 to 2011, and he is currently the President of the University of Illinois. (Full biography can be found here.)
Associate Chancellor Pradeep Khanna's Perspective
Pradeep Khanna discusses the significance of the University of Illinois, a premier research institution in agriculture, becoming engaged in postharvest loss issues. He highlights the importance of the ADM Institute as a unique academic-industry partnership in addressing the problem – which, if addressed, can provide a solution to world hunger issues and improve economic conditions at the same time. Pradeep also discusses how the Green Revolution affected India, and how he perceives the ADM Institute can help India to identify the next challenges in agriculture.
Pradeep Khanna completed his M.A. and M.Phil. from Himachal Pradesh University, India, in 1979. He came to the U.S. to complete another M.A. at San Francisco University in 1995, and his M.B.A. at the University of Illinois in 1997. Pradeep started his career as an Assistant Professor at Himachal Pradesh University in 1979. In 1981-1997, he was a member of the Diplomatic Corps of India. He was the Associate Director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory from 2002 to 2007. He served as an Associate Vice Chancellor of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Public Engagement in 2007 and Executive Director of the Office of Corporate Relations in 2008. Pradeep is currently the Associate Chancellor of the Office of Public Engagement. (Full biography can be found here.)
To adequately feed future populations, the amount of agricultural products likely will need to double. However, currently it is believed that a third of world agricultural production doesn’t reach the consumer, indicating a need to better preserve what is already grown. Nautilytics has combined animation and visualization of these losses in their “Global Food 3D” tool, which can depict the amount of future losses across key agricultural countries. This project is part of the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss, which has already invested more than $2.5 million to research addressing this issue.
ADM Institute Researcher Interviews
In 2012, the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss invested $2.1 million in seven research projects focused on efforts to reduce postharvest loss. The institute has prepared short interview videos with one of the lead researchers for each of these projects identifying their views regarding why research should be conducted in this area, current challenges, and what success of their projects would look like.
Measurement and Technology Development
Measurement, Documentation and Postharvest Processing for the Prevention of Postharvest Losses of Soybeans and Corn
Dr. Mary-Grace Danao talks about the importance of postharvest losses globally, particularly to smallholder farmers increasing their incomes and food availability, as well as how the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign plays a strong role in researching agricultural issues across colleges and departments. Dr. Danao also examines what will make their sensory project successful, and the particular challenges of working on an international research project.
Dr. Peter Goldsmith, Director of the Food and Agribusiness Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, discusses the exciting potential of Brazil's agriculture, the safrinha (succession planting) system particularly in Mato Grosso, as well as factors to consider in conducting international research for his project at the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss.
Dr. Ximing Cai discusses the relevance of postharvest loss to civil engineers, particularly in regard to environmental sustainability, technological innovation, and conserving resources. He also highlights the collaborative opportunities made available by the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Systems Informatics and Analysis
Dr. Luis Rodriguez discusses the importance of studying supply logistics in India and Brazil, food security, and how to achieve success in the next two years as the research project progresses under the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dr. Mindy Mallory from the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, discusses her research on the interactions of people along the supply chain, and how their decisions might impact postharvest losses. Dr. Mallory also highlights the importance of the collaborative environment at the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss, as well as challenges in conducting international research.
Dr. Mary Arends-Kuenning, Director of the Lehmann Institute for Brazilian Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, discusses the importance of studying postharvest losses of smallholder farmers in Brazil within the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss and the value of international and inter-disciplinary collaboration.
Education, Training & Information Transfer
Dr. Barry Pittendrigh discusses Scientific Animations Without Borders, a project that delivers freely-accessible information to low-literate learners in developing nations and its consistency with the goals of the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss at the University of Illinois. Additionally, Dr. Pittendrigh outlines some of the challenges and hopes that the project group has as they develop their platform and integrate developing countries' markets.
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