Technologies and Practices to reduce Post-Harvest Losses


The choice of technology package depends on circumstances, such as the scale of production, crop type, prevailing climatic conditions, and the farmers' affordability and willingness to pay (which are linked to social, cultural, and economic implications of adoption). In Zimbabwe, smallholder farmers use digital technologies (Farmhut) to meet timeous market demands and avoid market congestions. Such timeous market information enables smallholder farmers to avoid post-harvest losses due to evidence-based decision-making capacities on their farming activities.

Postharvest technologies play a role in stabilizing food supply and seasonal prices. Transient hunger in most parts of Africa has been attributed to seasonal production, and lack of efficient food storage and distribution systems, especially of staple crops. In spite of significant advances in food storage methods, smallholder farmers in most parts of Africa still rely on indigenous vessels such as mud silos, barns, cribs, and drums for the storage of grain, fodder, and seed storage. Such storage vessels are simple to construct and inexpensive to maintain but are unable to protect the produce from biological, physical, and environmental hazards for a prolonged period of time.

Various protocols are standardized and available for adoption to get the best result, which will give economic benefits. Similarly, proper storage conditions, with suitable temperature and humidity are needed to lengthen the storage life and maintain quality once the crop has been cooled to the optimum storage tempera Lure.

 

Technologies and Practices

 

Zero Energy Cool Chamber

This is an on-farm storage chamber, for fresh fruits, vegetables, and flowers to extend their marketability. The spoilage of fruits and vegetables can be controlled by reducing the storage temperature. Refrigerated cool storage is not only energy-intensive and expensive but also involves large initial capital investment. There is, however, a practical, low-cost alternative for on-farm fruit and vegetable storage that employs the cooling power of evaporation. Zero energy cool chambers stay 10- 15° C cooler than the outside temperature and maintain about 90 percent relative humidity. And they are easy to build out of locally available materials, such as brick, sand, bamboo, straw, and gunny bags.

 

Refrigerated Transport

Refrigerated transport is a method of transporting shipments with specially designed temperature-controlled trucks. The transporting trucks have a built-in refrigeration system that cools the shipments at a regulated temperature all through the process of transportation. These kinds of trucks ensure coolness and maintain the quality of the products being transported.

Solar Tunnel Dryer

It consists of a tunnel-type semi-cylindrical drying chamber, trolleys, and trays are provided to hold one tonne and two tonnes of raw material.  The reduction in drying time compared to (60 %) compared to open sun drying as a result of higher inside temperature of about 22 - 25°Csolardryers capture the sun's heat to dry fruit, vegetables, and fish not only preserving them but also making them more robust to transport and sell.

Waxing

It is used as a protective coating for fruits and vegetables and helps in reduction in a loss in moisture and rate of respiration and ultimately results in prolonged storage life. It helps the farmers to get better returns for their produce.

Pre-packaging

This technology controls the rate of transpiration and respiration and hence keeps the commodity in fresh condition both at ambient and low temperatures. It can able to bring revolutionary progress in our trade practice and also benefit the consumer and the producer because of its low cost and ready availability.

Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP)

These packagings modify the atmosphere composition inside the package by respiration. This technology is successful to extend the shelf life of (Cavendish banana, carrots capsicum, green chili, and tomatoes by 15, 14, 13, 8, and 15 days as against 5, 7, 8, 4, and 7 days in control respectively, under ambient conditions. Storage of Papaya can be extended for 4 weeks when stored at 10 -12 °C under modified atmosphere (MA) conditions by wrapping them in low-density polyethylene (LDPE) bag. Using this technique, the fruit can be transported to different markets in refrigerated sea containers with a Temperature Sea at 10-12 °C.

Irradiation

It is the newer technologies that can be gainfully employed during storage to reduce post-harvest losses and extend the storage life of fruits and vegetables. When fruits and vegetables are exposed to ionizing radiation (such as gamma-rays) at optimum dosage delays ripening minimizes insect infestation, retards microbial spoilage, control sprouting, and rotting of onion, garlic, and potato during storage. It is also used as a disinfection treatment and controls fruit fly on citrus, mango seed weevil, and papaya fruit fly.

Edible coatings

These are continuous matrices prepared from edible materials such as proteins, polysaccharides, and lipids. They can be used as film wraps and when consumed with the food, become an ingredient of the food. They not only minimize the post-harvest losses but also need energy-intensive operations and controlled atmosphere storage. They can control the migration of gases, moisture, oil, fat, and solutes, as well as retain volatile flavoring compounds. An edible coating improves structural integrity and mechanical handling and carries products so that they help to maintain quality and inhibit microbial growth causing deterioration of the product.

 

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