July 2010

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

Experts from Writtle College in Essex have been commissioned to help Brazil tackle the issues of postharvest food wastage as the country prepares to host the 2014 football World Cup.

Exporta Minas, a Brazilian State government agency is heavily involved in working on developments on improving the logistics and infrastructure to facilitate further economic development but with the particular objective to ensure that all is in place prior to the 2014 World Cup. There will be a new football stadium so the bad dreams of England’s defeat to the USA in 1950 can finally be put to rest! Dr Chris Bishop, a principal lecturer at Writtle College is involved,due to his internationally acclaimed expertise on postharvest research and consultancy for some of the UK's leading supermarket brands and global agricultural producers.

Dr Bishop's first focus will be on advising in Minas Gerais in Southern Brazil on postharvest technology concerning development of the Jaiba region, including their international airport at the state capital Belo Horizonte. Specifically, he will advise on a new perishable freight system to support the volume transport of locally grown fruit and vegetable crops including the famed 'palmer' mango which is regularly freighted to Europe.

"Postharvest technology is not concerned with the quantities of food produced, rather it is concerned with the quantities that will actual reach the plate. In the state of Menis Gerais alone, 30-40 per cent of bananas can be lost during the period between harvesting and reaching their final destination" said Dr Bishop.

"Brazil is tipped to be among the top five economies worldwide within the next five years. Agriculture is making a major contribution to the economic growth of the country and it is therefore no surprise that the Government there has recognised the need to develop standards for the protection of crops following harvest", he added.

Initial discussions with Exporta Minas, the Brazillian government agency working on developments for the World Cup, started in February this year at the international renowned trade fair- Fruit Logistica- in Berlin. Dr. Bishop made his first site visit to Belo Horizonte in June this year, he will be returning to Brazil for further discussions and recommendations from 1 August.

Dr. Bishop is a member of a team working on the JAIBA project in Brazil, which has been funded by the World Bank to develop the JAIBA region of Minas Gerais including the famed 'palmer' mango which is regularly freighted to Europe.

Pictured - Palmer mangoes being freighted from Brazil