The African Postharvest Losses Information System (APHLIS) is the premier international effort to collect, analyze and disseminate data on postharvest losses of cereal grains in sub-Saharan Africa. In its next phase, called APHLIS+, the service will expand the range of crops covered and include estimates of the economic and nutritional dimensions of postharvest loss. APHLIS+ will also improve its interactive tools for accessing loss data and will expand its network of African experts.
The European Commission (through its Joint Research Center) was the main sponsor of APHLIS from its launch in 2009 until 2014. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is the key donor of the APHLIS+ project, running from 2015 - 2020, with the European Commission continuing to provide support. The Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich serves as project lead. Agricultural Knowledge Management (AKM) Services has been the technical implementing partner for APHLIS since its inception and continues to provide the technical platform and hosting for APHLIS data and services during the APHLIS+ project.
In sub-Saharan Africa, up to 50% of crop production may be lost before produce reaches the consumer. Losses result from poor storage and handling practices and a lack of infrastructure. With an estimated value of US$ 4 billion, these losses threaten the food security and livelihoods of millions. Stemming postharvest loss requires targeted investments and agricultural policies, which in turn requires understanding the causes and impacts of loss. The challenge is that reliable data is scarce or nonexistent in many developing countries.
The answer was to establish a system for providing current and evidence-based estimates on postharvest loss to policymakers, donors and agricultural specialists: APHLIS.
APHLIS+ is led by the Natural Resources Institute in close collaboration with crop, value chain and information system experts that together form its core team.
Dr. Bruno Tran (APHLIS lead) of the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, UK, is an expert on the postharvest management of durable agricultural commodities. Tran is an applied ecologist and biostatistician specialised in field research and consultancy, data analysis and communication, infographics, teaching and training. Tran has more than 15 years’ experience in scientific research, teaching and project management. Currently, his focus is on pest and quality control on-farm, in warehouses and during transport.
Mr. Marc Bernard, a co-founder of APHLIS, is head of the knowledge management unit of AfricaRice and Focal point of the Green innovation Centre in Cotonou, Benin. He is an agronomist and soil scientist with 18 years of research experience in Africa. Since 2000 he has specialized in knowledge management for international agricultural research and rural development. In collaboration with southern partners he has developed and implemented a range of solutions for improved knowledge exchange in agricultural innovation systems. This includes the development of a demand driven and result oriented business model which allows engaging underemployed young professionals as freelancers for the provision of innovation support services.
Prof. Brighton Mvumi works at the University of Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe as researcher and lecturer. He has over 26 years’ experience working in sub-Saharan Africa on agriculture and food security, and sustainable livelihoods with particular focus on Postharvest Science and Technology. Has been an APHLIS Network member since the early days. In the last 16 years, his work has been on teaching, research and development focussing on postharvest food loss assessment and reduction, food value chain analysis, sustainable pest management systems, effects of climate change, and policy development.
Mr. Jan Priebe works at the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, UK, as a Senior Research Fellow in Information Systems for Agriculture. He develops and adapts ICT solutions to leverage the growth in information & communication technology in the developing world to add value in NRI’s projects. He works in a number of areas including market information systems, post-harvest loss reduction and monitoring and evaluation.
Dr. Tanya Stathers of the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, UK, has been working with smallholder crop postharvest systems across sub-Saharan Africa for more than 20 years, developing and promoting agricultural technologies through multistakeholder learning processes. Her research has also focused on agricultural adaptation to climatic and other changes, rural-urban interdependencies of food and agricultural systems, poverty impacts of market standards, and creative adult education approaches.
Felix Rembold combines an academic background in tropical agriculture with a long experience in photogrammetry and remote sensing. In 2001 he moved to the MARS Unit of the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC) where he obtained his Ph.D. in Climatology and Soil Sciences in 2005 and is responsible for the use of remote sensing data in crop monitoring for food security in the Horn of Africa. His main research interests include vegetation monitoring and change detection with multiple resolution satellite imagery and the improvement of crop yield forecasts.
Rudolf Böck was born and raised in a small family farm in Upper Bavaria/Germany, where he practiced agriculture from an early age. As a student at the Technical University Munich he learned to work scientifically. For many years he developed software and hardware for agricultural research for national and international institutions, at home and in developing countries. To help to sustainably improve food production and livelihood of smallholder farmers by adapting innovative methods for their needs without depleting their resources is the dream of his old age.
Frank Sonntag holds a degree in atmospheric sciences and has been developing and operating scientific software applications for over 20 years. In the last 15 years he has also used his extensive software and operating system experience to design, develop and maintain customized intranet applications and information systems. As technical director of AKM- Services Frank makes sure that high quality software systems are delivered on time, on budget and to the client's specification.
APHLIS is supported by a network of agricultural experts from about 40 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Network members are asked to submit annual data on crop production and a range of seasonal factors that may affect loss in their areas, including weather conditions, pests, grain drying conditions and the length of farm storage.
Institut National des Recherches Agricoles du Benin
Ministry of Agriculture
Institut de l’ Environment et de Recherches Agricoles
University of Ouagadougou
Forest, Soils & Environment Scientific Coordination
Central African Republic
Institut Centrafricain de la Recherche Agronomique
Institut Tchadien de Recherche Agronomique pour le Developpement
Institut National pour l’Etude et la Recherche Agronomique
Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research
University for Development Studies
Système d’Information sur les Produits Agricoles en Guinée
Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation
Disaster Management Authority
Central Agricultural Research Institute
Chitedze Agricultural Research Station
Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Institut d’ Économie Rurale
Ministére de l’ élevage
Instituto de Investigação Agrária de Moçambique
Ministry of Agriculture, Water & Forestry
Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique du Niger
Nigerian Stored Products Research institute
Senegalese Institute of Agricultural Research
Sierra Leone Chamber for Agribusiness Development
Agricultural Research Council
Ministry of Tourism & Environmental Affairs
Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security
Agricultural Research Information Services
University of Zimbabwe
A steering committee comprised of international leaders in the field of postharvest loss reduction monitors investment progress and planning of activities related to the APHLIS+ project.
University of Sao Paolo
University of Illinois
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation