Post-harvest losses in fruits and vegetables in Pakistan
Munawar Abbas1, Wazda Maqsood2, Moeen Ijaz1, Muhammad Hashim1 and Asim Yaseen1
1 Department of Soil and Environmental Science, University of Agriculture Faislabad.
2 Department of Soil Science, Bahauddin Zakariya University Multan
Post harvest losses expression in the world is “Degradation in the quality and quantity of the crop products from harvesting to the consumer use”. Inappropriate post-harvest handling can cause the losses in quality and quantity in agricultural crops. It is also responsible for the increase of price of agricultural products in Pakistan. Agriculture experts believed that, these losses responsible for the less return back to the farmers, effect to processors and cause loss for traders and country income also effect in foreign exchange. That’s why, these losses are in billions, this is danger alarm for the world as increasing population fastly and at the same rate resources are not producing for the hunger and speedily increasing population reducing the post harvest losses are the main goal for the agricultural and the food scientist. The post harvest in cereal crops, fresh vegetables and fruits in the resulting of disorder and infectious disease, which really different in the production area, commodities and seasons. Both quality and quantity are the main cause of the loss in agricultural benefits, these are in the response of stress related to excessive heat or cold, inappropriate mixture of environmental gasses and most important in adequate storage, transportation and most important is the poor nutrient management.
Extra losses also occur due to the mechanical damage like cutting, excessive pooling and trimming. Fresh fruits and vegetables are mostly soft to mechanical injury. Poor handling, improper packing and careless transport can increase the losses. All the above factors are not caused by any disease microbes or organisms, so by adopting new technology the losses can be reduced, because these all losses are due to improper management in post harvesting. Some time these factors can weak the natural defense against the pathogens. The attack on vegetables and fruit from insects, bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms are the major factor in post harvest losses in the fruits and vegetables. Microorganisms attack fresh produce and spread rapidly in the fruits and vegetables due to the lack of natural defense in plants. Excess nutrients in plant and more moisture support the growth of microorganisms
Pakistan is the developing country, where 35-40 percent post-harvest losses are in fruits and vegetables. In these losses 15-20 percent are at the time of management harvested crop, 5-8 percent at harvesting and 10-12 percent loss in vegetable and fruits when it transport. Agro-climatic conditions in Pakistan vary from tropical region to temperate regions, where 40 different types of vegetables, 20 types of fruits are produced in Pakistan. In the developing countries the losses are more due to unawareness about the new technology and peoples adopt the old processes, but in the developed countries these losses are less as compared to developing countries. In developing countries the losses are 10-30 percent, this is a big loss for the farmers and country. The income of the farmers is very low or less profit due to the quality and quantity. In the developed countries the losses are just 1 percent.
Pakistan falls in the list of developing countries. In Pakistan the total fruits and vegetables are produced nearly 13.674 million tons, it is expected that 30 – 40 percent goes to waste. More than 50 percent in mulberry, apricots, cherry, while in almond and walnuts is 6 percent. In horticultural crops the 40 percent low price as compared to the world average price due to the low standard of post harvesting management. In India these losses are similar as in Pakistan because both are developing countries and lack of new technologies. Post-harvest losses in wheat are 10 percent and in the rice losses are 15 percent in Pakistan.
Insects and mites are also partially responsible in post harvest loss in food grain, 40-70 percent losses from total loss are due to these factors.