FABE Capstone Students Develop Solutions for Post-Harvest Loss

jagudelo General, Student Activities

After last year’s successful collaboration, GWI is once again sponsoring a Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE) team to work on a Post Harvest project under Technical Advisor, Dr. Ajay Shah, and Course Advisor,  Kristen Conroy.
The group consists of these ambitious students
Colin Sasthav (Biological Engineering) – Project Manager
Brandon Lim (Biological Engineering) – VP of Communications
Nathan Horstman (Biological Engineering) – Executive Biological Designer
Geoff Early (Food Engineering) – Executive Food Designer
Mike Stevenson (Agricultural Engineering) – Executive Agricultural Designer
The capstone project is called Post Harvest Loss in Tanzania. One student working on the project, Brandon Lim, Biological Engineering Major at The Ohio State University, gave background for the project by explaining that agriculture is the way of life in rural Tanzania. For Tanzanian farmers, harvest size dictates the amount of food and income they get for the year. Unfortunately, food security is a large issue for many farmers. About 25% of their harvest is lost due to poor storage conditions which expose the crops to pests and spoilage, rendering them useless. The group’s goal is to design and implement a storage solution that will reduce the percentage of post-harvest loss, and therefore increase the farmers’ income.Brandon Lim explained that most of the challenges the post-harvest group faced were during the brainstorming phase. “We were in a continuous cycle of brainstorming a new design, doing further research online, and finding out that the design we had come up with had already been created and used.” Lim said.Fortunately, though, the group was able to draw ideas from current designs and incorporate the best of these into their unique design. Although the design process also challenged the students by requiring rigorous criteria, students weighed factors to see which criteria were the most important to include in their design. The group put a large emphasis on cost, transportability, durability, ease of use, and overall effectiveness.

Post-harvest group members got involved in this FABE capstone project because of their interest in humanitarian engineering. Students all appreciated the idea of being able to engineer a new form of technology in order to improve the lives of citizens in developing countries. The work doesn’t stop after the FABE Capstone project, though! The post-harvest group would like to visit Tanzania and help implement their project design there.

Good luck, post-harvest group! Thank you for all your hard work.