One percent of food sent abroad by USAID is lost to food spoilage and spillage because of failed packaging, according to Mark Brennan, a researcher with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
That may sound insignificant, but it amounts to losing roughly 10,000 metric tons of food and countless dollars that could be invested in feeding hungry people.
In the first installment of the Food Fix’s new series “10 ideas to make the world less hungry,” Brennan suggests new methods of packaging to reduce food spoilage.
“As this food kind of moves its way through the supply chain from farm to beneficiary you have instances of the bags breaking,” he said. “You have also instances of things getting wet, of insects crawling into bags.”
Researcher Ana Herrera explains a mobile technology network that helps farmers warn each other of pest and disease outbreaks and extreme weather. The same system can deliver advice on how to handle such disasters directly to the farmers, and coordinate a response with experts in the field and government officials.
This Grameen Foundation project is supported by Michigan State University’s Global Center for Food Systems Innovation.
In Uganda, farmers in rain-fed agricultural communities depend on irrigation. Without irrigation, they battle with fluctuating and
unpredictable weather conditions, droughts and flooding. Crops don’t do well and yields are low.
Researcher Abraham Salomon, of the University of California-Davis, is working in eastern Uganda, collaborating with local farmers, social advocates, and engineers on flexible and community-managed irrigation interventions. They’ve been installing and maintaining adaptable irrigation systems that allows tomatoes, cabbage, beans and other vegetables to thrive in the dry seasons and the unpredictable rainy seasons.
Decomposing human and animal waste has the power to change lives. While it might sound – and smell – funny, the power of poop lies in biogas, a renewable energy source produced during the breakdown of waste. The process yields a gas of about 60 percent methane that can be used for cooking, refrigeration, and other basic needs. The waste itself can also be processed and applied to fields to enrich the soil and improve crop production.
That’s what waste engineer, Rebecca Larson, assistant professor professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been doing. She’s partnered with Vianney Tumwesige, CEO of Green Heat, a Ugandan energy company, teamed up on a host of projects in Kampala, Uganda that demonstrate new ways to transform waste to resource.