Faculty and Staff Spotlight
Director for Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Processing and
Post-Harvest Handling (FPL)
Director of the Purdue International Food Technology Center (IFTC)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.