Kansas State University is receiving an initial five-year, $8.5 million award from the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, to establish the federal government’s new Feed the Future Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss. It is the third Feed the Future Innovation Lab established at Kansas State University in the last five months, bringing more than $27.2 million to the university.
“Kansas State University is proud to lead this effort to improve our global food system,” said John Floros, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Director of K-State Research and Extension. “As much as a third to half of the world’s harvest is lost every year for a variety of reasons. Through this innovation lab, we will work toward solutions that reduce postharvest losses and help preserve greater quantity and better quality food for the world’s growing population. By doing so, we will also help reduce the waste of the precious natural resources used to produce our food.”
The Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss is part of the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative, called Feed the Future. This newest lab will focus initially on helping the countries of Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Guatemala reduce their postharvest losses and food waste for grain and oil seed crops, tuberous root crops, and peanut and legume crops. The lab will expand its research focus to other Feed the Future countries over time.
As a way to prevent postharvest losses, researchers will investigate prevention of stored product insect pests and mycotoxins as well as improved measurement, drying, and storage techniques. They also will use innovative communication, training, and education approaches and look at incorporating micronutrients in grain foods to help improve nutrition.