Improved Packaging Technology in the Food Aid Supply Chain

Food for Peace, implemented by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), shipped over one million tons of food aid in 2014 to 35 countries around the world, reaching approximately 46 million beneficiaries. Food aid is currently shipped in woven polypropylene bags or multiwall paper bags, depending on the commodity, which are vulnerable to insect infestation and mold damage. New bag technologies, such as hermetic and growth regulator treated bags, offer the potential to improve the quality of food aid commodities transported and stored while eliminating or minimizing the level of fumigation currently required. By reducing food loss and the cost of fumigation, these technologies could prove very cost effective in providing more aid.

This panel will introduce some of these improved packaging technologies and discuss their potential to improve the food aid supply chain, along with other food security applications. The panel will also highlight an experiment, conducted by the MIT Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation (CITE) in collaboration with USAID, in order to evaluate the cost and efficacy of using such packaging materials in the food aid supply chain.

Moderator: Jarrod Goentzel, MIT Humanitarian Response Lab

Greg Olson, Program Operations Division Director, USAID Office of Food For Peace
Jim Bagwell, President, ProvisionGard
Phil Villers, President, GrainPro