Thursday, August 15, 2013

Chinese Taipei: IRRI scientist speaks on reducing postharvest losses at APEC seminar

by Alfred Schmidley

Alfred Schmidley, business model and value chain specialist at IRRI, was a featured speaker at the recent APEC seminar, Strengthening Public-Private Partnership to Reduce Food Losses in the Supply Chain, hosted by Chinese Taipei.

The event, held on 5–8 August 2013, was the first major output of a multi-year project by APEC that was began this year to address losses in food processing and supply chains. It was attended by 120 participants from the APEC Secretariat and 18 member-economies.
In his presentation titled, Advancing postharvest technologies to reduce losses in rice postharvest value chains, Mr. Schmidley spoke about how postharvest losses are aggravated by increased yields, cropping systems intensification, and other factors such as labor shortages, the absence of improved technologies, and the lack of a postharvest sector capacity to efficiently process paddy and reduce losses.

The APEC seminar highlighted the fact that 95% of agricultural research monies go toward increasing yields while only 5%, or less, is allocated to reducing postharvest losses and addressing other postharvest issues.

The seminar is part of an ongoing effort by APEC to raise awareness about food losses, find better ways to measure and assess losses among member-economies, enable private sector investment, and foster adoption of technologies that can reduce losses across farm and food-processing supply chains.

At the end of the conference, delegates agreed to establish a focal point network (FPN) and appoint cross-sector representatives from APEC member-economies. They also agreed to establish a research team to follow up on assessment methodologies, tool kits, datasets, and the need for future capacity building activities.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

VietNam: Rice postharvest and laser leveling advocacy seminar conducted

by Reianne Quilloy and Trina Mendoza

While the Mekong Delta remains to be the major rice-producing area in VietNam, other regions must not be left behind to increase the country’s rice exporting quality through improved postharvest technologies.
 To address this concern, the Asian Development Bank-IRRI Postharvest Project, through Nong Lam University (NLU) and in cooperation with the National Extension Center of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), organized a Seminar on Rice Postharvest and Laser Leveling for the Northern, Central, and Highland regions of VietNam on 30-31 July in Quang Ngai Province.
 About 70 participants from the project’s partner universities, local government authorities, representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Trimble, and Ideal Farming Corporation attended the event. The seminar aimed to (1) identify problems, constraints, opportunities, and potential in expanding technologies in the northern, central, and highland regions of VietNam; (2) document viewpoints, directions for policy recommendations for promoting the laser leveling technology; and (3) discuss future commitments of the provinces.

Demonstration of the laser leveler in Quang Ngai Province, Central Vietnam

 A short field tour was conducted at the Quang Ngai Sugarcane Seed Center and Ngia Hinh District to show the participants the benefits and use of laser leveling technology.  Partners from NLU’s Ho Chi Minh City and  Hue campuses presented the results of their assessments on the different rice postharvest technologies in VietNam.  Ms. Truong Thi Thanh Nhan, one for the first buyers of the laser leveling equipment in Dak Lak Province, central VietNam, reported on the benefits she reaped by using the technology. Mark Heyward of Trimble presented their different business model proposals that interested farmers or farmers’ groups may consider if they want to purchase laser leveling equipment.

 During the discussion, it was concluded that to expand the awareness of postharvest technologies in the country, there should be a developed policy to support farmers in terms of mechanization, land reform, and financial support; increased communication and extension activities in the different regions; established demonstration models for farmers to see the benefits of the technologies; and fostered collaborations in other rice-growing regions in VietNam.