A postharvest innovation is a handling or storage practice or a method or tool that can be used to reduce food losses or food waste. Innovations can be adapted from a variety of related fields (engineering, food science, or packaging) or developed specifically for use in the postharvest sector. PEF is pleased to share news and reports on postharvest innovations with our network.


The Rockefeller Foundation and the Global Knowledge Initiative (GKI), the report “Reducing Food Waste and Spoilage: Assessing resources needed and available to reduce postharvest food loss in Africa.” June 2014

100 under $100: Tools for reducing postharvest losses. 2019. 

Integrating postharvest development capacity into national extension service. ADMI 1st International Congress on Postharvest Loss Prevention (Rome, 4-7 Oct 2015). Keynote presentation: Dr Lisa Kitinoja.

Ending Rural Hunger. Kitinoja, Lisa. 2016. “Innovative Approaches to Food Loss and Waste Issues,” Frontier Issues Brief for the Brookings Institution’s Ending Rural Hunger project.

Plastic crates can be reused many times, and then recycled. Returnable plastic crates (RPC) are being promoted by many companies and associations.

Reusable Plastic Crate 


CoolBot modules can be used to convert a typical window style air conditioning unit (minimum temperature setting of 15C) to a small-scale refrigeration system that can reach as low as 2C. 

Pre-cooling Systems for Small-Scale Producers, Lisa Kitinoja and James F. Thompson

A unique root cellar made from an old sailboat

Evaporatively cooled storage chambers:
Zero Energy Cool Chamber, PPT by Dr S.K. Roy on the cooling studies and details for construction of the Zero Energy Cool Chamber (ZECC) 

Zeer pot -- a simple evaporatively cooled storage technology

Charcoal cooler -- a walk-in cool room you can construct on a farm, for a packinghouse or in the marketplace.

Sandpit storage for sweet potatoes (via CIP) -- 

Bicycle powered machines have been designed for many purposes. Innovations may be used for cooling, pumping water or doing postharvest work.

For some plans and ideas see here

PedalPro video 

For ideas on how to reduce energy use and improve energy efficiency:
Empowering Agriculture: Energy Options for Horticulture (Postharvest Chapters co-authored by Lisa Kitinoja, and James Thompson, March 2009) 

In-depth infographic on food waste via ALL GREEN PR LIMITED, providing staggering numbers around the world of how much food we are actually throwing away: 


Farmers markets -- ideas for direct marketing

Urban delivery vans and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) 

Pest management for grains, S.Mohan, TNAU, Coimbatore (India) -- gadgets

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  TNAU insect trap (probe model)

Tomato powder, via Abubaker Siddick, India, a "how-to" presentation for IHC  

Solar drier videos, plans and designs can be found on these websites:

 Video of tomato harvest, sorting, washing, slicing, solar drying from Kenya (via Andrew Egala)
Simple Solar Chimney dryer design (via Emmanuel Ayua) Mixed modes solar dryer

Drying Fruits and Vegetables with the SolarFlex Dryer

For long-term storage of dried foods it is best to protect them from light, heat, air and moisture:  -- hermetic storage


Identification of Appropriate Postharvest Technologies for Improving Market Access and Incomes for Small Horticultural Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Part 1: Postharvest Losses and Quality Assessments. Kitinoja, L. and AlHassan, H. A. (2012). Acta Hort (IHC 2010) 934: 31-40.

Appropriate Postharvest Technologies for Improving Market Access and Incomes for Small Horticultural Farmers in Sub- Saharan Africa and South Asia. Part 2: Field Trial Results and Identification of Research Needs for Selected Crops. Saran, S., Roy, S. K. and Kitinoja, L. (2012). Acta Hort (IHC 2010) 934: 41-52.

Packaging Technologies review article (source: Encyclopedia of Food Safety)

PICS bags from Purdue University 


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