Each year, the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture — led by a team at the University of California, Davis — selects a handful of students to offer agricultural expertise to organizations in developing countries. This year, 10 of the 16 chosen were University of Florida students.
Through the lab's Trellis Fund, an effort launched in 2011, graduate students from UC Davis, UF, North Carolina State University, and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa can apply to be matched with organizations in Asia, Africa and Latin America that receive Trellis Fund grants. The fellows work with the selected organizations remotely and in person to help farmers improve how they grow and sell food crops.
The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development as part of its global hunger and food security initiative.
Here are the UF students selected as Trellis Fund fellows and the projects they supported:
- Raminder Kaur, a doctoral student in the agricultural and biological engineering, and Ranjeet Singh Randhawa, a doctoral student in horticultural sciences and a master’s student in agribusiness (both pictured above), worked with the Ndibwami Integrated Rescue Project to train Ugandan farmers in processing pineapple, tomatoes and passion fruit.
- Claire Friedrichsen, a doctoral student in soil and water sciences, traveled to Ghana to help the Kumasi Institute of Tropical Agriculture provide training on organic fruit and vegetable production.
- Saroop Sandhu, a doctoral student in soil and water sciences, helped Tip Top Foods, Ltd., evaluate biochar treatments for sandy soils in Ghana.
- Prosanta Dash (pictured above), a doctoral student in horticultural sciences, worked with Ghana's University of Cape Coast to develop farmers' irrigation and transplanting skills.
- Food technology student Sidrah Rafique worked remotely with Methodist University College Ghana on training for value-added processing of mangos. Nick Reitz of UC Davis traveled to Ghana to provide additional support.
- Sanju Kunwar, a plant pathology doctoral student (pictured above), traveled to Rwanda to help agricultural company SYBASH, Ltd. train farmers in fruit tree planting and production.
- Krishna Bhattarai, a doctoral student in environmental horticulture, worked with Environmental Conservation and Agricultural Enhancement Uganda to provide training on irrigation and handling of mushrooms and tomatoes.
- Kshitij Khatri, a horticultural sciences doctoral student, is working with the University of Rwanda to train farmers in good agricultural practices.
- Bhim Chaulagain, a plant pathology doctoral student, will help Aythos, Inc., provide agribusiness training for kiwi fruit farmers in Nepal.