Purdue launches post-harvest initiative

Initiative includes extensive involvement and collaboration with USAID, USDA, private foundations and other stakeholders.

This week, Purdue University will formally launch the Purdue Postharvest Initiative with an exhibit at the World Food Prize meeting in Des Moines, Iowa.

With an estimated one-third of the world's food going to waste, reducing food waste and loss is critical to meet the food demands for what experts predict will be 9 billion people in 2050. Focusing on developing countries, Purdue is leading and partnering on projects designed to reduce post-harvest loss, improve nutrition, build and enhance agricultural value chains and foster and support food entrepreneurs.

The annual World Food Prize meeting, being held Oct. 12-14, brings leaders from around the world for the annual "Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium" and to celebrate the recipient of the World Food Prize, which often is described as the Nobel Prize for agriculture. Purdue is the only university in the world that has two food prize winners on its faculty: Philip Nelson, who won in 2007, and Gebisa Ejeta, who won in 2009.

The exhibit at the World Food Prize will highlight two of Purdue's major Postharvest Initiative projects: Purdue Improved Crop Storage and the Food Processing Innovation Lab.

"These and other projects point to the expertise and experience of Purdue faculty and staff from throughout the university who can bring solutions to problems across the value chain in the developing world," said Jay Akridge, the Glenn W. Sample dean of agriculture at Purdue. "Through the Postharvest Initiative, Purdue will be seeking additional projects and funding to further strengthen our leadership in the area of post-harvest loss reduction."

The Purdue Postharvest Initiative includes extensive involvement and collaboration with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, private foundations and other stakeholders.

Professor and faculty fellow Suzanne Nielsen said, "The Purdue Postharvest Initiative builds on large and complex international agricultural research and development projects led by Purdue in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We are well positioned to launch additional projects that will dramatically impact this global issue."

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