Institutional Capacity Building

Strengthening institutional and human capacity in targeted government agencies is necessary to enable policy decisions in postharvest loss reduction. To that end, ADMI functions as a knowledge hub and hosts short-term technical training for mid to high level professionals from the public sector. 

Training government agencies 

In 2014, ADMI hosted a 10-day training program with Chinese government officials from the State Administration of Grain (SAG). Trainees consisting of engineers and managers learned about the effects of postharvest practices and grain quality on ethanol production and corn milling, in addition to learning about supply chains in the U.S. and public-private partnerships. 

ADMI has hosted two short-term trainings for officials engaged in food policy issues with the Government of Bangladesh as a component of the Bangladesh Integrated Food Policy Research Program – a collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) South Asia. The program is part of the Government of Bangladesh’s Modern Food Storage Facilities Program funded through the World Bank. 

In 2018 and 2019, 16 officials from the Bangladesh Ministry of Food participated in a series of seminars at the University of Illinois, and in field trips that gave them new perspectives on food systems, food policy, and postharvest management. Participants learned from University of Illinois experts in a range of fields, including commodity marketing, food fortification, grain storage and processing, and food policy analysis. The course included guided research and concluded with presenting policy briefs authored by the participants at IFPRI’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Policy brief topics have included mechanization in Bangladesh, cash transfers vs. food distribution in government assistance programs, increasing government paddy procurement, rice fortification, and the feasibility of public-private partnerships for grain storage.  

Building capacity of research and educational institutions  

From the beginning, ADMI has adopted a facilitative approach to strengthening the capacity of local organizations to develop their abilities to reduce postharvest losses. Through collaborative partnerships, ADMI has built a legacy of sustainable capacity strengthening over time. ADMI’s engagement with higher education and research institutions has spanned research capacity development, laboratory equipment sponsorship and faculty engagement.  

The University of Illinois has a long history with Njala University, Sierra Leone. The relationship began in 1963 when Njala was established with support from USAID and University of Illinois as the implementing partner. Currently, the universities host a number of joint activities through their academic partnership. This partnership creates many opportunities for students, faculty and staff to collaborate with one another through study abroad programs or research projects carried out in Sierra Leone.  

ADMI has funded a number of research and student learning capacity-building projects at Njala University since 2013. Most recently, with support from ADM Cares, a Postharvest Experimental Training Hub was established in 2019. One of the purposes of the hub is to engage students in postharvest loss education and research activities to build their capacity and deepen their knowledge of relevant technologies and approaches. Currently, 53 students from Njala University and the University of Illinois have benefitted from trainings at the center. An additional 24 students have been working together in the Agribusiness program and Learning in Community classes to study postharvest interventions implemented by NGOs in the cocoa and rice sector.  

ADM Cares grants have enabled AgReach, led by Dr. Paul McNamara, to conduct training workshops at Njala University for NGOs, the Ministry of Agriculture, and farmer organizations in postharvest loss prevention. Over 300 farmers in four villages have been trained on aflatoxin contamination during storage and using hermetic storage. AgReach has also worked with Njala University instructors to incorporate PHL learning and experiences into the curriculum of the College of Agriculture and the School of Technology. This includes pilot testing technologies and best practices. Currently, the Hub has constructed prototype flatbed and silo dryers. Read more about ADMI’s work at Njala University