Faculty and​ Staff Spotlight

Photo of Betty Bugusu, PhD

Dr. Betty Bugusu

  • ​Project Director for Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Processing and Post-Harvest Handling (FPL)
  • Managing Director of the Purdue International Food Technology Center (IFTC) ​ 

Betty Bugusu was born and raised in a farming community in Western Kenya, Africa. She recalls her family’s maize crop being eaten by insects in field and in storage. Luckily, her father had a second income as a school teacher, and the family raised a bit of money from the sale of tea and coffee grown on their farm. She knows all too well that farmers around her in Kenya were not as fortunate and suffered greatly due to post-harvest loss. Because of that experience, she is determined to make a difference for farmers by reducing post-harvest loss.

Betty earned her BS degree in Kenya and worked as a research scientist at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute. Securing an opportunity to come to Purdue as a visiting scientist in the Biochemistry Department was a turning point in her career. She earned MS and PhD degrees at Purdue in the Food Science Department under the guidance of Dr. Bruce Hamaker.

In her current position, Betty oversees and manages the FPL with more than 20 investigators from eight institutions. The goal of the FPL is to increase access to safe and nutritious food along the value chain. The FPL focuses on improving drying and storage capacity for smallholder farmers; creating market opportunities through increased food processing; and enhancing nutrition through diversified, processed food products.

Betty also manages activities of the IFTC, a food processing-based center designed to link farmers to markets. The aim of the center is to expand markets and reduce food losses in developing countries. The IFTC works with food processors, especially women, to start or improve their food processing businesses by providing technical and management training.

“The best part of working in FPL and IFTC is making a difference in people’s lives.” Betty says, “FPL and IFTC are really helping farmers in developing nations reduce their post-harvest losses.”

 Betty has been recognized as a member of the Millionaire Club for being a Co-PI on the FPL award. She envisions a greater role for FPL and IFTC in expanding market opportunities, decreasing post-harvest losses, increasing access to safe and nutritious food, and empowering smallholder farmers around the globe.​​​

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