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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

OSU receives grant to help with post-harvest loss reduction in Ghana

STILLWATER, Okla. – An estimated 9.4 billion people will be sharing what Earth has to offer by 2050, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

With all of those people needing to eat, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) recently awarded $8.5 million to establish the federal government’s new Feed the Future Innovation Lab for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss (PHL). The lab will focus initially on helping Ethiopia, Guatemala, Bangladesh and Ghana.

Nearly $800,000 of that is going to Oklahoma State University to lead the Ghana component of the project.

“There has been a considerable amount of research and development on pest management programs for the food industry that could be drawn from and applied in Ghana,” said George Opit, project leader and assistant professor in OSU’s Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology. “Thus, there is great potential for the adoption of economically feasible and culturally acceptable improved storage methods.”

Maize accounted for 74 percent of the total cereal production in Ghana for 2012, with reported postharvest losses of up to 50 percent.

“Improving food security through a reduction of PHL is imperative for meeting current development objectives in Ghana since losses reduce real income for all consumers, divert essential income out of farmers’ pockets and undermine overall food availability,” Opit said.

The amount of grain stored in warehouses in Ghana is rapidly increasing, and a number of private and public sector organizations have formed postharvest service centers (PSC) to improve agricultural production and food quality and reduce PHL. Virtually all grain held by PSCs is stored in warehouses, which do not give protection from insects, mites, rodents, atmospheric moisture or heat.

“We will research what can be done to effectively mitigate losses in warehouses and use appropriate technologies and knowledge to increase the supply of safe and nutritious food in these and other Feed the Future focus countries,” Opit said. “Our participation in this project is a great honor and responsibility. It recognizes the experience, accomplishments and expertise we have in post-harvest loss mitigation research and implementation.”

Kansas State University has received the initial $8.5 million award to lead the initiative. Other partners include the University of Illinois; University of Nebraska-Lincoln; South Carolina State University; University of Kentucky; Fort Valley State University; the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Center for Grain and Animal Health Research; Archer Daniels Midland Co.; Romer Labs; Vestergaard Frandsen; and John Deere; as well as universities and nongovernmental organizations in the initial four countries.

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Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments Cooperating: The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or status as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.

REPORTER/MEDIA CONTACT:
Sean Hubbard
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
145 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-4490
Fax: 405-744-5739
Email: sean.hubbard@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078
405.744.5000

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