About PHI

The Post Harvest Innovation Programme (PHI) is a public-private partnership between the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum (FPEF), which is directed at developing innovative technology in the post-harvest leg of the value chain for fresh fruit exports.

The mission-level goal of PHI is to engender a culture of innovation by providing funding opportunities to deserving applicants who will creatively seek solutions for the technology gaps identified in the fruit export value chain. Between 2008 and 2014, the investment of public funds in PHI will total R30-million.

A recent impact assessment of PHI revealed that the Programme currently makes its impact in the following ways:

  • Allowing the re-emergence of cross-sector research and innovation projects that benefit all fruit types. (A tradition that weakened in South Africa following deregulation in the 1990s).
  • Adding more resources into the research and innovation system for the fruit sector.
  • Supporting research and innovation efforts that have already been identified as priority areas that will be addressed by the industry, but ensuring additionality by allowing these existing research agendas to achieve more, sooner, than would otherwise have been likely.
  • Developing new areas of research and innovation.
  • Supporting research and innovation in smaller export industries (sub-tropical fruit) and in new crops (persimmons, pomegranates) which are not part of the remit of the industry research bodies responsible for citrus and deciduous fruit, and which consequently have had less technical expertise focused on them.
  • Retaining quality researchers in the fruit / cold chain / post harvest arena so they are available to teach both industry members and research students as well as to react swiftly to urgent research issues.

PHI in Figures

  • PHI funding supported 54 projects, 25 of which are in progress.
  • PHI received R30 million from the DST for the period 2008 – 2014 over two phases.
  • PHI leveraged an additional R12,8 million from the industry and public sector research bodies to boost the funding support for PHI projects and initiatives.
  • The South African fruit exports in 2010: R16 billion.