Post harvest for fresh fruit, vegetables and root crops is a science created with the aim of reducing the level of weight loss after harvesting fruits and vegetables and maintaining fruit and vegetable quality for the final consumer.
Post harvest treatments deal with fruit protection and enhance fruit quality, the development of post harvest treatments has permitted the creation of the current global fruit and vegetable trade.
IMPORTANCE OF POST HARVEST
At the present time, production and consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables is growing globally, according to FAO the gross production value of the worldwide fresh market was 1.245 trillion USD in 2014.
40% of food production is wasted in developing countries at retail and consumer levels. 40% of food production is wasted in these countries at the processing level as well. Likewise, 45% of root crop fruit and vegetables are wasted, representing the highest wastage rate.
FAO has stated several times its concern about food loss and the growing population rate This is not a matter of increasing production but an issue of food management, where Post harvest treatments can play a major role.
CAUSES OF LOSSES IN POST HARVESTED FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
There are two main causes of losses of post harvested fruit and vegetables:
· Physical-chemical damages: This damage can be caused by mechanical risk such as: blows, rubbing or ambient risks like: high/low temperatures, toxic gases, etc.
· Biological process: Breathing, development and senescence, diseases and pathologies.
CONSEQUENCES OF POST HARVEST LOSSES
The consequences of post harvest losses can be split in two, economic losses due to:
· Product loss
· Reduction in product lifespan
· Decrease in quality
And environmental losses, as resources have been used to produce fruit and vegetables and at the end the production becomes wastage.
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