Knowledge for Development

S&T Organisations / Web resources

7th international CIGR Technical Symposium "Innovating the food value chain" and 2nd International Conference on Postharvest Technology and Quality Management "Postharvest Africa 2012"

7th international CIGR Technical Symposium "Innovating the food value chain"and2nd International Conference on Postharvest Technology and Quality Management "Postharvest Africa 2012"25 - 28 November, 2012Stellenbosch University, South AfricaFollowing the success and scientific reputation of the previous CIGR Section VI Postharvest Symposia held in Beijing (China), Warsaw (Poland), Napoli (Italy), Iguascu (Brazil), Potsdam (Germany) and Nantes (France), and the 1st International Conference on Postharvest Technology held in Muscat (Oman), you and your colleagues are invited to the next event to be held in the beautiful and historical 'Oak City' of Stellenbosch, South Africa.The Conference will highlight recent scientific advances and technological tools to handle, preserve, process, maintain and control quality and reduce losses in fresh and processed foods and agro-industrial raw materials, including fruit and vegetables, grains, roots and tuber, meat, seafood, herbs, spices, and cut flowers. 2nd flyer is available below [edits: May 2, 2012].

Sunday 25 November 2012 - Wednesday 28 November 2012

A European project to achieve more sustainable production and distribution of foodstuffs

The SENSE project (Harmonised Environmental Sustainability in the European food and drink chain) brings together researchers, producers, transformers and distributors in order to achieve a harmonised, integral methodology that can be used to evaluate the environmental impact of food products accurately and efficiently. The project SENSE (7th FP) aims to contribute towards getting the food and drink sector to engage in more environmentally sustainable production, transformation and distribution of its products. The current situation presses the need to have tools that will help to reduce the environmental impact of food and drink throughout their production chain, starting with their production and transformation and going right up to their commercial distribution. The SENSE members will be focusing specifically on creating a methodology applied to the juice, dairy, meat and aquaculture sectors, chosen for their importance in the European market. (EurekAlert, 22/02/2012)


ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss

The ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was created as a response to the rising amounts of oilseeds and grains lost each year in food chains around the world. The Institute is an international information and technology hub for evaluating, creating and disseminating economically viable technologies, practices and systems that reduce postharvest loss in staple crops such as rice, corn, wheat, and oilseeds.


African Food Traditions Revisited by Research Website

Website of AFTER project, a project financed by the European Commission within the FP7: Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (Work programme KBBE-2009-2-3-02). With 4 years duration, AFTER intends to generate and share knowledge on food technology for a range of traditional products: within Africa and between Africa and the EU. AFTER is based on three groups of products: Fermented cereal-based products, fermented salted fish and meat, traditional plant based extracts for functional food. AFTER project will be implemented by interdisciplinary teams of seven African countries: Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Egypt, Madagascar, Senegal and South Africa and four European countries: France, Italy, Portugal and United Kingdom.


CGIAR’s AgriFood Chain Toolkit

The CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets led by IFPRI is the driving force behind this CGSpace plateform for value chain (VC) development. It is meant to build more links between VC researchers and VC practitioners. The AgriFood chain toolkit acts as a clearing house and learning platform, using the power of ICTs. The toolkit is meant to host online resources (document files, links to online documents and websites) that are useful for value chain development activities in developing countries: capacity building, case studies and value chain analysis.  Anyone can submit a new resource which is relevant to agrifood marketing and other VC issues in developing countries so it can be shared with the VC community. CGSpace, 2012) 


Compendium on Postharvest Operations (FAO)

The Post-harvest-Compendium describes issues of paramount importance to post-harvest operations or post-production activities for staple foods and edible crops. The Post-harvest-Compendium is designed to be used through the Internet: to provide technical and updated information about how, when and what is done after production of the crops in different communities around the world. It also provides information on other aspects associated with post-harvest activities. These include crop and family labour, tools and basic equipment involved in production and postproduction, main causes of losses, pest control, socio-economic issues, gender issues, commercialisation, nutritional value, processing techniques, by-products, product quality and so forth. Several chapters’ related to specific crops and specific post-harvest information are currently in preparation by crops expert under the supervision of recognised institutions such as IRRI, CIAT, INDDA, APCC, and others. This information will provide global support to post-harvest activities, and will improve food security in the future.


Controlled Atmosphere Storage of Fruits and Vegetables

CABI | 2010-02-08 | ISBN: 1845936469 | 320 pagesThe transportation and storage of fresh fruits and vegetables is an international operation where technology must be used to ensure that produce reaches the consumer in the best possible condition. The use of controlled atmosphere storage has great potential to reduce the postharvest use of chemicals, maintain nutritional quality and organoleptic characteristics and reduce physical losses. This revised edition incorporates the latest research to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of controlled and modified atmosphere storage. Chapters review the history of the technique, the range of conditions and technologies currently in use for different produce and their effect on flavour, quality and physiology. In addition, the influence of pests and diseases, environmental factors and packaging and aspects of controlled atmosphere transport are considered in detail as well as a synthesis of recommendations for a wide range of crops.


Cutting waste food to feed the world

Cutting waste food to feed the worldBy the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology for the FAO, May 2011.This document was commissioned by the FAO from the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology (SIK) for Save Food!, an international congress held in May 2011 at the trade fair of the international packaging industry Interpack2011. Key findings include: Industrialized and developing countries fool away roughly the same quantities of food – respectively 670 and 630 million tonnes. Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tonnes) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tonnes). Fruits and vegetables, plus roots and tubers have the highest wastage rates of any food. The amount of food lost or wasted every year is equivalent to more than half of the world's annual cereals crop (2.3 billion tonnes in 2009/2010). The report distinguishes between food loss and food waste. Food losses – occurring at the production, harvest, post-harvest and processing phases – are most important in developing countries, due to poor infrastructure, low levels of technology and low investment in the food production systems. A separate report on food packaging for developing countries, also prepared for the Save Food! Congress, noted that appropriate packaging is a key factor impacting on losses occurring at almost every stage of the food chain.Related and of interest to this issue is the Foresight 2011. The Future of Food and Farming by the UK Government Office for Science.


Dealing with small scale producers: Linking buyers and producers

Dealing with small scale producers: Linking buyers and producersThis 2011 publication by the Royal Tropical Institute (the Netherlands) focuses on the potential benefits of collaboration, along the value chain, between the private sector and the small scale producers. It argues that producer organisations, who usually coordinate and maintain the relationship between both parties, don’t play the role they could to enhance cooperation and collaboration in the relationship. The great diversity in producer organisations is also reflected in their capacities; consequently, there is confusion about which form of organisation is appropriate for a particular business aim. This publication aims to contribute to the understanding of producer organisations and the potential benefit they can bring to enhancing particular business relationships.Young professionnals in ARD have been disucssing this matter for the last few month. Join them on the K4D facebook discussion page.


Doing Things Differently: the Postharvest Innovation Learning Alliance

The Post-Harvest Innovation Learning Alliance (PHILA) is a learning network that has been set up to better facilitate the out- and up-scaling of relevant post-harvest technologies. The project, presently active in Tanzania and Zimbabwe, aspires to generate and promote new ideas as to how national innovation systems can be better mobilised to sustain the uptake and adoption of post-harvest knowledge by end-users, especially poor farmers.


Flagship Research and Development Programme: Technologies to reduce post-harvest food loss

NEPAD, African Ministerial Council on Science and TechnologyOne of the sources of food insecurity in Africa is post harvest crop loss. In African countries pre and post-harvest crop losses are higher than the global average and impact more severely on already endangered livelihoods. It has been estimated that at least 10 percent of the continent’s crop productivity is lost on and off farm. This is mainly because most subsistence farming communities to do not have access to appropriate technologies. A wide range of existing food processing technologies is not accessible to and adapted by African countries and their communities. Climatic conditions also contribute to crop losses. Floods, heavy rains, droughts and other related factors cause considerable post harvest crop loss.


Improving Processing and Postharvest Handling (CNFA publications)

While increased productivity is an essential component to a vibrant agricultural sector, improved post-harvest handling and processing is essential to ensure high-quality products reach markets. Too often, even when yields are high, producers lose income due to poor post-harvest practices.CNFA's strategy is designed to increase both productivity and crop quality and to build an efficient infrastructure for post-harvest handling, storage and marketing in order to extend the sales season and help farmers obtain optimum returns on their crops investments. CNFA promotes the use of best practices in post-harvest techniques and procedures, such as conditioning, washing/sorting/grading, immediate cooling or cold storage and controlled atmosphere. CNFA also provides training in business planning, including strategic sales and marketing plans. It is critical to select, cultivate and market high-value crops in order to raise incomes and establish a viable and competitive agricultural economy. Using a combination of technical assistance and small grants to help introduce competitive practices and technologies, CNFA has fostered the expansion of high-value agriculture, driven by market demands and opportunities. CNFA works with enterprises within targeted value chains to help identify the best long-term strategies for expanding markets, increasing capacity, generating investment, empowering entrepreneurs and increasing rural incomes. This can include introducing new crop varieties or applying new production technologies, including intensive production techniques, advanced and efficient irrigation systems, use of GIS/remote sensing in production planning and high-productivity genetics. Projects emphasize future opportunities for investment or assistance within that sector and the competitive advantages within the market. One way for entrepreneurs to access higher-value markets is securing special certifications. CNFA helps local partners to institutionalize quality management programs and introduce international quality standards (ISO, HACCP) and to develop and market new products, brands, and Seal of Quality programs.


Packaging for fruits, vegetables and root crops

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Bridgetown, BARBADOS September 1988The main objective of this manual is to describe how post-harvest handling and marketing can be improved through better packaging. Inter-regional exports of the English speaking independent countries in the Eastern Caribbean amount to more than 60,000 tonnes of produce traded, valued at some EC$ 90 million per year. If we assume a 20 percent loss, the economical loss caused by post-harvest losses could well be over EC$ 18 million every year. Consequently, reducing these losses with only one percent results in the marketability of an extra 600 tonnes of produce valued at EC$ 1 million every year in the regional markets. Total world fresh produce exports in 1986 were estimated at US$ 226,505 million. A loss of one percent equals a financial loss of US$ 227 million. Only a small part of the world production of agricultural produce is exported and according to FAO estimates post-harvest losses were in the order of 20 - 33% of all food produced. A small reduction in post-harvest losses will result in lower financial losses and in an increased availability of food. Other financial losses such as loss of market opportunities, loss of quality, loss of goodwill, etc. can also result in a financial loss for the trader or farmer.


Plant and Food Website

Plant & Food Research is a New Zealand-based science company formed in December 2008 through the merger of HortResearch and Crop & Food Research. With over 900 staff based at sites across New Zealand as well as in Europe, the USA and Australia, Plant & Food Research provides research and development that adds value to fruit, vegetable, crop and food products. Research and commercial partnerships cover a broad spectrum of disciplines and industry sectors - from molecular biology to nutrigenomics, fresh fruit to high value seafood products. At the heart of Plant & Food Research is a goal to underpin the growth of plant and marine-based industry in New Zealand and offshore through the successful application and commercialisation of research-based innovation. Science in key areas including elite cultivar development, sustainable production systems and bioprotection supports the production of high quality produce that earns a premium in international markets, while research into food science and the consumer drives the design and development of new and novel functional foods that offer benefits to human health and wellbeing.


Post Harvest Losses Information Site (European Commission)

This website offers post harvest losses estimates (PHLs) - % weight losses - for the cereal crops of the East and Southern African, for individual countries and for their provinces. The PHL calculator that makes these estimates can also be downloaded by users as a spreadsheet and default values changed to user preferences. A Users' Guide to the system and a Review Paper on post harvest weight loss estimates for the region can also be downloaded. The data on which this system is based was submitted by local experts who together form the PHL Network.


Post-Harvest and Value Addition Group – Research at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich (UK)

The Post-Harvest and Value Addition Group works on durable and perishable crops after harvest to reduce losses, enhance financial or nutritional crop-value, and assure food safety. Research ranges from the fundamentals of storage and preservation of quality throughout the marketing chain, to food-science aspects of agro-processing and responses of consumers to new food products. The team’s research strategy includes: use of refined behavioural analysis techniques in studies of insect pests of grain, to identify new options for pest management without synthetic pesticides; studies of food safety in the informal food sector of developing countries, to improve quality and safety in a sector vital for employment of poor people; investigating food and energy security to improve sustainability of rural livelihoods in semi-arid developing countries reliant on renewable natural resources; and developing optimum approaches for uptake of post-harvest value-addition in cassava (supported by Gates Foundation) and bio-fortified food crops (with HarvestPlus Challenge Program).


Post-harvest food losses in developing countries: A new study

United Nation University Press, Food and Nutrition BulletinSome of the world's harvests of food crops and food fish, inevitably, never reach what the technologists in the field of post-harvest food conservation call the food-preparation stages. Bad harvest timing, inefficient machinery, carelessness, rats, insects, moulds, bacteria, contaminants, heat, cold, moisture, and lack of moisture continue to cut into the harvests. The expert group that determined the priorities of the United Nations University's World Hunger Programme in 1975 concluded that the problem of post-harvest food conservation was not receiving sufficient attention from established international and bilateral agencies. They recommended that it be one of the three sub-programmes of the World Hunger Programme. A new 215-page study, Post-harvest Food Losses in Developing Countries, just completed by a committee of the United States National Research Council, concludes that "post-harvest food losses are 'enormous'." Yet, the report says, "we do not ... know what proportion of the post-harvest losses it is technically or economically feasible to reduce. Nor will we be in a position to assess this until systematic, co-ordinated efforts to estimate and reduce losses are implemented at national, regional, and local levels over a wide area.


Post-harvest handling of horticultural produces a challenge to developing countries.

Acta Horticultura 369: 40-46, 1994.Post-harvest handling links the crop and the consumer in such a way to benefit the producer and the consumer as well. In this matter, the challenge to developing countries depends mainly on how far they can develop political will to create good business environment, build the infrastructure, the needed facility, good practice and management. The success of Kenya and Thailand in the development of horticultural crops, including post-harvest handling technology, is mainly due to the creation of good business environment and hardship through consistent and continuous efforts. The challenge becomes more important due to the horticultural produce susceptibility, the increasing awareness on quality, and the tougher competition among the nations. Cleaning, grading, packing, storage and transporting horticultural produce are still significant problems to those involved in handling them. Improvement program on post-harvest terminals may reduce or even overcome the problems of post-harvest handling for a developing country.


Postharvest Losses of Fruit and Vegetables in Asia - Food and Fertilizer Technology Company for the Asian and Pacific Region

Fresh fruits and vegetables are inherently perishable. During the process of distribution and marketing, substantial losses are incurred which range from a slight loss of quality to total spoilage. Postharvest losses may occur at any point in the marketing process, from the initial harvest through assembly and distribution to the final consumer. The causes of losses are many: physical damage during handling and transport, physiological decay, water loss, or sometimes simply because there is a surplus in the marketplace and no buyer can be found!


Postharvest Technology Research and Information Centre (UC Davis)

Through the postharvest research and extension programs of 11 Extension Specialists, relevant information is provided to California growers, shippers, marketers, carriers, distributors, retailers, processors, and consumers of fresh horticultural crops. The Centre is housed in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. The mission of this organisation is to reduce postharvest losses and improve the quality, safety and marketability of fresh horticultural products. These are achieved by being a leading source of research-based information on the postharvest quality, safety and marketability of fresh horticultural products for the produce value chain; effectively communicating information and knowledge on postharvest technology that enhances the quality, safety and marketability of fresh horticultural products; catalyzing innovative and enhanced collaboration among centre members, industry, government, and other academic institutions, nationally and internationally; and finally, being financially self-sustaining.