Reducing post-harvest losses in fruits and vegetables for ensuring food security – Case of Sri Lanka
- MOJ Food Processing & Technology
Leelananda Rajapaksha,1,2 DMC Champathi Gunathilake,1 SM Pathirana,1 TN Fernando1
In Sri Lanka, 70% of 21 million population live in non-urban areas, and agriculture provides livelihood for approximately 40% of them. The agricultural marketing process in the country is a complex operation due to services and functions involved in moving a crop product from where it was produced to where it would finally be consumed. Further, with a wide range of agricultural crops being produced, post-harvest handling process create different degrees of quantitative and qualitative losses in a complex market chain, which are estimated at 20% to 40% for vegetables and 30% - 40% for fruits. Improper and non-scientific post-harvest practices and handling, gaps in integration of cold chain practices & elements with post-harvest process, and lack of knowledge & awareness on many related aspects at grass root farmer level etc. appear to contribute to losses that finally prevent due economic benefits reaching the small-scale producer. In order to increase the effectiveness of post-harvest process handling of fruit and vegetables, appropriate corrective measures targeting small scale producers as well as commercial scale producers need to be popularized and practiced. At small scale producer level, promotion of appropriate low-cost post-harvest practices and procedures, facilitating low-cost cold chain elements and user-friendly information flow mechanism on market situation would certainly help avoid some of the steps that lead to losses. Monitoring system of commercial post-harvest handling process that ensure scientific bulk handling, storage and transportation of fruit and vegetables, properly designed economic centers with well regulated environment-controlled storages etc. would greatly reduce loses in bulk handling, ensuring better food security in the island.
Fruits, vegetable, cold chain, cold storage, technologies, food security