UC Davis DryCard Invention Wins Chancellor’s Innovators Award to Reduce Food Loss Globally
By Brenda Dawson on May 23, 2018 in Food & Agriculture
A NEW, LOW-COST INVENTION from the University of California, Davis, to help prevent food spoilage has been recognized as a top innovation in advancing food security and health around the world.
This surprisingly simple tool, called the DryCard™, recently earned its research team the 2018 UC Davis Chancellor's Innovators Award. Since launching the DryCard in 2017, the team has built up a network of entrepreneurs and small businesses that have helped to manufacture, sell and distribute more than 10,000 DryCards in places such as Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, Guinea, Mexico, Guatemala and Thailand.
The DryCard can show farmers whether their dried food products are dry enough to store safely, reducing food losses and risks of mold and associated toxins.
Last year, the DryCard was introduced on an international stage and beat out more than 200 entries to win the grand prize in the All-Africa Postharvest Technologies and Innovation Challenge at the first All-Africa Postharvest Congress and Exhibition in Kenya. During the challenge, the DryCard and other technologies and innovations were pitched to an audience of about 600, including private investors and international organizations.
“I have never seen such strong interest in a technology like this,” said Elizabeth Mitcham, director of the Horticulture Innovation Lab and a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in postharvest biology for the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences.
“I think it shows a tremendous need for a solution that can increase awareness of moisture content of dried food products,” said Mitcham, who represented the DryCard during the competition. “This technology has high potential to make an impact — and not only with dried produce and vegetable seeds, which was our original intent.”
She noted that much of the interest in DryCard has come from organizations that also work with staple crops.
“My hope is that we will find entrepreneurs and donors to help us spread this technology, so that every farmer who dries produce has access to it,” she said.