Better Post Harvest management is important for fruits and vegetables

fruits-and-vegetablesIqra Junejo

According to Pakistan Statistical Year Book 2012, Area under cultivation of fruits was 836.00 hectares, while the production of fruits was 6926.00 tones and the area under cultivation of vegetables (except potatoes and sugar beat) was 252.10 hectares, while the total production of vegetables was 3132.80 tones, the total area under cultivation of potatoes was 159.10 hectares, while the production was 3491.40 tones.

Horticulture sector of Pakistan has great potential to earn foreign exchange and this sector also provides multiple emplacement opportunities and horticulture sector specially fruits and vegetables contributes about 12% in national agriculture GDP(gross domestic product).But it is quite unfortunate that about 35% to 40% of total production of horticultural products ( specially fruits and vegetables) goes to waste because of improper management immediately after harvesting, these practices are termed as post harvest management practices, post harvest management practices determine the final quality of products. Some times improper pre harvesting management praises like poor management of orchards, disease and  pest infestation ,improper or imbalance fertilization ,weed problem ,improper sowing or plantation, improper irrigation and improper harvesting techniques, early or delayed harvesting can also be responsible for losses in fruits and vegetables. But the most dangerous and alarming cause of losses in fruits and vegetable is improper post harvest management.

Post harvest practices are cooling, cleaning, sorting, grading, packaging etc. But for better post harvest management practices it is necessary to understand the difference between sorting and grading, maturity and ripening and effect for low and high temperature on horticultural products (fruits and vegetables).

In sorting commodities are sorted out on the basis of size like small, medium, large.

Grading is done on the basis of size and number of blemishes present on the commodity (fruits and vegetables) before final packaging and it is done for assurance of quality of commodities before final packaging, grading can be done on the basis of your desire like.

  • Grade A Large , but no blemishes
  • Grade B Large, but less blemishes
  • Grade c Large, but more blemishes

Maturity is when the commodity (fruit and vegetable) possesses the entire specific as its own natural classification and ready for consumption while ripening is the specific stage for many fruits and vegetables which turns the commodity for table consumption.

At lower temperature rate of respiration is low, consumption of oxygen is low, production of ethylene is low as well, that’s why rate of deterioration is low and lower the rate of deterioration greater would be shelf life of commodity (fruit or vegetable) that’s why we use lower temperature during storage.

At high temperature rate of respiration and consumption of oxygen, production of carbon dioxide, ethylene is greater, these all factors are responsible for high rate of deterioration and reduction of shelf life of fruits and vegetables.


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