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Combating postharvest losses to help serve vital needs

On January 19, 2011, ADM founded the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss with a US$10 million grant to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Institute will work with smallholder farmers in the developing world to advance the adoption of practices and technologies that can help preserve more of what’s grown worldwide.

Postharvest loss is a significant issue. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about 30 million metric tons of corn, 20 million metric tons of wheat and nearly 3 million metric tons of soybeans went to waste worldwide in 2007.  The University of Illinois has noted that the amount of wheat and rice wasted during that year could have satisfied the cereal-grain dietary requirements of more than 380 million people. Yet only about 5 percent of all agricultural research funding worldwide is directed toward the prevention of postharvest loss.

As a company whose purpose is to serve vital needs by connecting the harvest to the home, ADM wants to help close this research gap so that farmers are able to sell more of what they grow and enhance their livelihoods and the economic viability of their communities. With that goal in mind, the ADM Institute for the Prevention of Postharvest Loss will serve as an international information and technology hub for evaluating, creating and disseminating economically viable technologies, practices and systems that reduce postharvest loss in corn, oilseeds, wheat and rice.

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