Postharvest physical risk factors along the tomato supply chain: a case study in Fiji

Poor produce quality and inconsistent supply currently impede smallholder vegetable growers in Fiji from accessing high-value domestic markets. The available produce destined to go to the market is further lost through poor postharvest handling practices, road conditions and absence of a cool chain. The increasing importance of food and nutritional security in view of climate change factors affecting Pacific Islands Countries intensifies the need to reduce horticultural food loss. Postharvest losses were measured from harvest through to product arrival at the Suva municipal fruit and vegetable markets, with post-municipal market losses determined using simulated storage conditions. In this study, 32.9% of the harvested product was removed from the commercial supply chain. Poor temperature management during onfarm product ripening, and limited on-farm postharvest hygiene were key contributors to the observed loss. Contrary to expectations and comparable studies in other less developed countries, the losses due to transportation to municipal market were low (0.1%). While we found negligible in-transit physical damage to the product in the case study, this does not imply that existing road infrastructure is not an issue in Fiji, or that postharvest quality is not adversely influenced by in-transit conditions. A significant number of high intensity vibration events were recorded along the transport chain, most of which were restricted to a relatively small portion of the western bank Sigatoka Valley road. The small losses post-farm gate (in transport or at the market) are due to fast-to-market transport over relatively short distances and fast on-selling, involving few intermediaries, once at the market.

Issue Date:
Aug 29 2016
Publication Type:
Conference Paper/ Presentation
Record Identifier:
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 Record created 2017-05-15, last modified 2018-01-23

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