URBANA, Ill. – Mechanization and postharvest opportunities will be the topic for an upcoming symposium to be held at the University of Illinois July 22-23, 2016. The symposium, “Mechanization and Postharvest Opportunities for Smallholders in Sustainable Agriculture,” has been organized jointly by the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss (ADMI) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Appropriate Scale Mechanization Consortium (ASMC).
The ADMI focuses on providing information on postharvest loss reduction, developing and promoting feasible technologies, conducting systematic analyses, and providing decision support. The main research fields include measurement and technology development, policy analysis, as well as education, training and information transfer. To date, the ADMI has built connections with research teams in the United States, India, Brazil, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, China, Mexico, and other developing countries, and developed collaborations on postharvest loss reduction.
“Our international partners will be presenting exciting results at this symposium on current postharvest loss prevention technologies and outreach activities that will make significant impact on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers,” said Prasanta Kalita, director of the ADMI and Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES).
The ASMC was formed in the fall of 2015 in conjunction with a 4-year, $4.7 million project funded by USAID as part of Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative. The group includes members from Illinois, Michigan State University, Kansas State University and North Carolina A&T State University. They are working to determine tools, technologies, and methods that best suit smallholder farmers in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso. ADMI provides extra support for the project, including the development of technologies for in-field use that can lead to reduced postharvest losses.
“We have invited representatives from the four countries involved in the USAID project to make presentations and participate,” said Alan Hansen, project lead for the ASMC and professor in agricultural and biological engineering at Illinois. “We also have a large number of the ASMC U.S. team members attending.”
The symposium will open with the inaugural lecture for the ADMI Distinguished Lecture Series presented by Dr. Elsa Murano, director of the Norman E. Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, and professor and President Emerita of Texas A& M University.
Topics will include presentations on postharvest loss in Bangladesh, India, and Brazil, as well as updates on appropriate scale mechanization in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, and Ethiopia.
The symposium is hosted by the College of ACES in the ACES Library, Information and Alumni Center on July 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and July 23 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Registration is required and due by July 8. The symposium will be open for all to attend, and lunch will be provided. For more information, or to register for the symposium, visit http://bit.ly/ASMCsymp.