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Abstract

Trinidad has been producing fresh-cut fruit and vegetable products since the mid1990's and the quantity and range of products have been expanding. Staff of the Postharvest Unit of the Research Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Marine Resources conducted a survey of retailing of the fresh-cut products in Trinidad. The results were reported to stakeholders at a seminar / workshop in January 2006. The quantity and quality of domestically produced crops, papaya (Carica papaya L.), watermelon (Citrutlus lanatus), pineapple (Ananas comosus (L.) Merr), dasheen leaves (Colocasia esculenta), pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima), carilla (Momordica charantia) and okra (Hibiscus esculentus L.) used in fresh-cut products were not consistent and this has implications for the sustainability and profitability of the fledging industry. Both survey and workshop discussions revealed that, although the products had strong visual appeal, stringent and consistent quality standards were lacking. Future prospects were examined and recommendations made for improvements in the sector. Recommendations were made for developments in the quantity, quality, safety and marketing of fresh-cut products. International food safety standards needed to be applied to ensure a consistently safe product to the consumer. Key areas for research, development and education were identified at the workshops and these are presented as short, medium and long-term strategies for the development of a vibrant fresh-cut industry in Trinidad.

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