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This training enables Liberians to share and teach others on proper postharvest handling techniques, laying the groundwork for a strengthened cold chain that begins on the farm.
In April 2016, a team of cold chain experts representing the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA), led by Nikki Duncan and including technical experts Rusty Eason, Dick Dowdell, and Francis Appiah traveled to Liberia to assist Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA) with a new USAID-funded project – Liberia Agribusiness Development Activity (LADA). LADA works to increase agricultural incomes of smallholder farms through increasing private sector investment in Liberia’s agribusiness sector.
The GCCA team completed a cold chain assessment to determine the magnitude of losses for key fruits and vegetables in Liberia. “The team that deployed here was very serious and professional, and provided excellent recommendations to CNFA and to the USAID Mission,” reported Daniel Geis, USAID and LADA Chief of Party. “Based on the strength of the deliverable that was presented, CNFA will be inviting some of the GCCA team members to return in order to implement some of the recommendations.” In July, Geis followed through on this statement. One of the recommendations from the cold chain assessment focused on improving farmers’ knowledge of postharvest handling. As a direct result, CNFA invited Duncan and Appiah to return to Liberia to assist a local organization, the Central Agriculture Research Institute of Liberia (CARI) to address ongoing postharvest losses and capacity problems. Assisted in-country by Hussein Yunus Alhassan of the Ghana-based Kayaba Management Foundation, and remotely by Dr. Lisa Kitinoja, Postharvest Technical Advisor to the World Food Logistics Organization (WFLO), a Core Partner of GCCA, the team trained CARI and LADA staff on appropriate postharvest handling practices for assorted crop varieties, how to conduct postharvest loss assessments, and how to build the overall capacity of CARI. This training enables Liberians to share and teach others on proper postharvest handling techniques, laying the groundwork for a strengthened cold chain that begins on the farm.