Knowledge for a sustainable world

Keith I Tomlins

The EU FP7 GRATITUDE project, 'Gains from Losses of Root and Tuber Crops', recently held its midterm review at Plant Research International, Wageningen, Netherlands from 4 to 7 November 2013. It was attended by 15 members of the project, comprising project research area leaders, country managers and key experts within the project who travelled from Ghana, Nigeria, Thailand, Vietnam, UK, Portugal and the Netherlands. The EU was represented by their Scientific Officer and an external reviewer.

The project is working to reduce waste from postharvest losses of root and tuber crops and turn unavoidable waste into something of value. At the meeting, the leaders of each research area gave presentations on the progress made so far on project activities. After each presentation, the external expert, followed by the EU Scientific Officer, asked questions relating to the work carried out and made a number of helpful and useful recommendations.

2013-11-06crProject leader, Keith Tomlins from NRI says: "I am delighted with the progress made in the GRATITUDE project so far. The good team spirit between partners in Africa, Asia and Europe came across well at the review, along with the excellent scientific results and high quality of the research.

We have new findings to communicate, promote and demonstrate, some of which we were not expecting, particularly how waste from cassava and yams is managed in the value chains. The conventional wisdom that waste and losses in developing countries occur at the farm end of the value chain has been challenged; in Ghana in particular, waste and losses were greater at the consumer end and hence economically more costly. This is more similar to developed countries.

Looking ahead, as an international team we have much to do before the project ends and the feedback received from the EU will help us enormously. I am really excited about how this project is creating new knowledge that will help improve food security and incomes of people on low incomes".