World Food Preservation Center: Innovations and Partnerships for Food Preservation

From, by Harriet Kim
World Food Preservation Center: Innovations and Partnerships for Food Preservation

The Missing Food Report from the World Bank, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Natural Resources Institute estimates that more than US$4 billion of grain in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is lost annually. This amount of grain is enough to feed 48 million people for the year. The World Bank and FAO also estimate US$940 billion is needed to eradicate hunger in SSA from 2006 to 2050, with up to 47 percent to address postharvest losses. In SSA, postharvest loss occurs along the entire farm-to-fork chain and is an important factor, but often forgotten, in exacerbating food insecurity. It especially affects the poor, who spend a high percentage of disposable income on staple foods.

Despite these figures, according to the World Food Preservation Center (WFPC) five percent of agricultural resources is invested in food preservation. Consequently, there is a disproportionately large skill and technology gap in higher education systems. This shortage of educated personnel and effective technologies deeply affects those most vulnerable to food insecurity, and those areas most acutely in need for low-cost, sustainable solutions.

The WFPC works to address these food loss challenges in partnership with major research universities across six continents and GainPro, Inc., an important player in the “storage, handling and distribution of food commodities." This partnership does so through the development of new technologies while supporting students who are passionate about combating postharvest food losses in the developing world. It aims to provide these young students a M.Sc. or Ph.D. education, with one of WFPC’s “sister” universities, at a reduced cost. At these partner universities, students will learn about advanced strategies and methodologies for food preservation and conduct research on postharvest food preservation technologies. With this knowledge, students will return home to establish research, education, and extension programs adapted to their home country. The expected result is to continue the growth of a professional and institutional network contributing to the profitability of farmers and impacting world hunger and health.

WFPC has also established a nonprofit Education Foundation to further its mission by providing financial support, through scholarships and grants. Chosen students are from one of these countries and commit to attending one of ten sister universities.

For more information, contact the World Food Preservation Center at