In January 2011, the Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) provided a $10 million gift to the University of Illinois to establish the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss. The institute was created in response to the rising amounts of staple crops lost each year in food chains around the world. The institute is an international hub for evaluating, creating, adapting, and disseminating economically viable technologies, practices, and systems that reduce postharvest losses of commodities in order to promote food security and environmental sustainability.
“As we look ahead to the middle of this century, global population is expected to reach more than 9 billion people, and the demand for agricultural products is expected to as much as double,” said Patricia A. Woertz, ADM chairman, CEO and president. “Clearly, preserving what is already grown is fundamental to feeding the world, and to making the most of the land, water, energy and other inputs already used to grow crops.”
Dr. Steve Sonka, professor of agricultural management, was the first director of ADMI (2011-2014), followed by Dr. Prasanta Kalita, professor of agricultural and biological engineering (2014-2017). Dr. Alex Winter-Nelson, professor of agricultural and consumer economics, was named as director in November 2017.
In ADMI’s early years, the research focus was on what is measured when assessing postharvest loss and how that measurement is conducted. ADMI funded several initial projects to create research capacity for PHL issues. In 2012, ADMI assisted in the planning and execution of a postharvest loss workshop in Mato Grosso, Brazil, the first PHL-focused event in the region. The same year also saw the beginning of a long partnership between the Scientific Animations Without Borders (SAWBO) project and ADMI. ADMI staff members participated in a number of international events to raise awareness of the issue of PHL and to raise the profile of ADMI as a resource in the field.
In 2015, the ADM Institute co-organized the First International Congress on Postharvest Loss Prevention in Rome, Italy, with the FAO, Rockefeller Foundation, and other supporters. For two and a half days, the PHL Congress brought scientists, policymakers, businesses, NGOs, donors, educators, and students together to share their knowledge and experiences in reducing postharvest losses.