PHL in the News 
May 16, 2012 Update

The following items have appeared recently in newspapers, blogs, on websites and other media regarding PHL and might be of interest to affiliates of the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss.

Africa

  • Uganda's cooperative movement will not be revived as had been hoped due to a small budget allocated by the government. The Trade Minister cited the inadequate legal framework, poor storage facilities and infrastructure, and insufficient knowledge as major hindrances to cooperative expansion.   

  • Wivokil, a grain pesticide targeting grain weevils produced by AHL Chemicals and Steel Company Limited has been introduced to the Malawi market with the aim to reduce PHL and has been met with considerable success. The product is produced locally and thus is fresh and priced cheaper, causing farmers to buy it as soon as it is available. Demand is so high that considerations for producing and exporting the product are now being made as well. 

  • The U.S. Treasury Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin spoke before the Togolese National Assembly, emphasizing the partnership of the USA to aid Togo's development. Wolin highlighted the importance of infrastructure, suggesting improved roads, irrigation systems, making affordable electricity available, and broader access to information technology. These will aid in improved regional trade and access to markets, particularly for farmers. The U.S. Global Agriculture and Food Security Program trust fund is supporting Togo's first five-year agricultural development plan, which includes enhancing farmers' market access, providing producer training, and higher-quality inputs, as well as reducing PHL.

  • The Nigerian Minister of Science and Technology has stated that the only way for the country to reduce PHL is to introduce technological inputs into the agricultural sector. He has said that "post harvest storage facility has been the bane of our agricultural produce." Additionally, the Minister called for the introduction of GMO technology to prevent pest attacks.

East and South Asia

  • The Philippine government's focus on the rice and corn sectors has led to the expectation of food sufficiency in 2013. Crop insurance companies have been of aid to farmers as they approach the wet season. Targeted initiatives of introducing high yield seed varieties, improved irrigation, and reduced PHL have turned the country from its previous status as the world's top importer of rice to most likely being able to achieve an exportable surplus within one administration period.

  • The Indian storage situation is steadily worsening. After the rains, millions of tons of wheat, which had no place to be properly stored and were left in the open, are now rotting with mildew. In some provinces, farmers are sifting through rotting wheat to find grains which are still edible—from piles of wheat that had been left outside for nearly a year—in order to repack and sell what they can salvage. The government had been warned in April of the storage shortage but was reluctant to export more grain due to fear of political protests at a time of inflating food prices. Selling this grain to the poor at a subsidized price is not an option, as the fiscal deficit would expand. Wasting grain is seen as an atrocity by many, as nearly half of India's children under 5 are malnourished.

  • Pakistan's agricultural sector has gone from being deemed the "great bread basket" to being known for lacking efficiency and global competitiveness. Wheat yield is 20% lower and non-basmati rice yield is 40% lower than global standards. Pakistan's PHL ranges from 40-80% compared to the global benchmark, and agricultural credit disbursement to Pakistani farmers declined from $3.4 billion in 2007/08 to $3.1 billion in 2010-11. Pakistan's agricultural credit is 8% of agri-GDP, while neighboring India's is 31%. Former CEO of Engro Corporation Asad Umar recommended farmer cooperatives as a way for farmers to buy inputs, sell produce, and obtain credit for member farmers, as well as access lending and crop insurance from commercial banks.

North America

  • The Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program is awarding financial assistance to state producers conducting qualifying projects in genetics, hay storage, feed storage, grain storage, and producer diversification opportunities. Proposals for funding should be turned in between June 1-7.

  • A UC Riverside professor was awarded $100,000 in Grand Challenges Explorations grant money from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to research methods of identifying diseased corn in Third World countries. The professor plans to create a "biotic stress sensor printed on maize leaves." The research team will be looking at low-cost methods of placing sensors on corn leaves that will detect bacteria, fungi, insects, viruses, and other threatening influences. 

Conferences and Symposiums

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Resource Library

AgriLORE is an online library sanctioned by the National Agricultural Innovation Project of ICAR in order to share "Re-usable Learning Object Technology" related to the agro-horticulture sector. Users can upload, edit, change, update, and redistribute documents on the site for improved learning. There is a sizable amount of postharvest literature on the site.

Reports

CIMMYT, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, recently uploaded "Resistance of tropical maize genotypes to the larger grain borer" to the CIMMYT Library Blog. The report was recently published in the Journal of Pest Science.

An abstract for a paper on "Post-harvest Losses and Food Sustainability Challenges of Rural Farmers in Developing Countries" (PDF) for the upcoming "Resilience of agricultural systems against crisis" conference in Goettingen, Germany, was published. The paper focuses on maize.

Call for Proposals

The MAIZE CGIAR Research Program has a call for proposals on controlling the mycotoxin contamination in maize. The deadline for submissions is May 19, 2012.

 
  ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    807 S. Wright Street, Champaign, IL 61820
t: 217-333-5115 e:postharvestinstitute@illinois.edu