Collaborating to Address Post Harvest Biology and Food Quality
This partnership sought to increase economic efficiency, raise productivity, and reduce rural poverty through the establishment of a Postharvest Technology Center at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU).
The Center focuses on biological and engineering principles and practices, food safety, agricultural economics and marketing, and postharvest management to address major postharvest losses resulting from improper processing, inadequate food and safety standards, and underdeveloped infrastructure. The Center’s overall aim is to improve food yield and delivery and ensure food security, availability, and health through proper processing as well as to bolster the conversion of perishables into value-added products.
Six scientists from TNAU were selected for a Postgraduate Certificate Program in Postharvest Biology and Technology at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis). Upon their return to India, they developed and conducted a regional training workshop at TNAU for local researchers, education specialists, and extension agents directly addressing these issues which resulted in the strengthening of TNAU’s curriculum in the areas of food safety, total quality management, minimal processing, and fresh-cut fruits and vegetables; resulting in peer reviewed papers and articles. A second team of three TNAU scientists traveled to UC Davis to receive training in experimental economics.
Overall, the partners conducted 41 on-campus and 12 off-campus training programs on food safety, Good Agricultural Practices, and postharvest technology of horticultural crops for approximately 250 farmers, Self-Help Group women, and entrepreneurs. The success of their collaborative activities enabled TNAU to leverage almost $2 million from the Ministry of Food Processing Industries and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for infrastructure and equipment for their state-of-the-art food processing facility on campus. Six of the 10 scientists who work in the laboratory received training at UCD through the HED partnership.
The partnership's legacy included two new graduate courses at TNAU: Food Quality and Safety Engineering and Post-Harvest Pest and Disease Management. Most recently, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries granted the TNAU partners another $4,000 to train 25 Self-Help Group women per month for 36 months in applied food processing such pickling and jam/jelly making.
At a Glance
University of California, Davis; Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
Apr 2004–Sep 2007