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An Investigation into Major Causes for Postharvest Losses of Horticultural Crops and Their Handling Practice in Debre Markos, North-Western Ethiopia

An Investigation into Major Causes for Postharvest Losses of Horticultural Crops and Their... Hindawi Advances in Agriculture Volume 2021, Article ID 1985303, 10 pages https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/1985303 Research Article An Investigation into Major Causes for Postharvest Losses of Horticultural Crops and Their Handling Practice in Debre Markos, North-Western Ethiopia 1 2 Yebirzaf Yeshiwas and Esubalew Tadele Debre Markos University, College of Agriculture, Department of Horticulture, Debre Markos, Ethiopia Department of Agricultural Economics, College of Agriculture, Debre Markos University, Debre Markos, Ethiopia Correspondence should be addressed to Yebirzaf Yeshiwas; yebirzaf80@yahoo.com Received 10 July 2021; Revised 15 August 2021; Accepted 26 August 2021; Published 6 September 2021 Academic Editor: Yunchao Tang Copyright © 2021 Yebirzaf Yeshiwas and Esubalew Tadele. )is is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. In developing countries, food systems are mainly characterized by unorganized, traditional supply chains, and limited market infrastructure. Bulk quantity of the harvested produce is lost every year because of the absence of proper postharvest handling and management practices. )e current study was conducted to estimate and identify the major causes for postharvest losses of fruits and vegetables in Debre Markos, north-western Ethiopia. Forty respondents who were retailing fruits and vegetables were randomly selected and qualitative and quantitative data were collected by using direct market observation and semistructured questioners. )e result of the present study revealed significant differences between sociodemographic factors, handling practices, and postharvest loss. Educational status, selling experience, and packaging material have a significant relationship with post- harvest loss. A significant difference was obtained among the transportation methods used, the selling place, storage methods, and materials. )e result also indicated that fewer than 20 percent of respondents practiced selling fruits and vegetables in the resident mini shop. )e majority of damaged produce was sold at a discount price. Retailers do not have formal knowledge of postharvest handling practices. )e average postharvest losses of fruits and vegetables were estimated to be five to eighty-three percent of the market share. Mainly, during retailing, rotting, mechanical damage, poor handling, improper management of temperature and relative humidity, and hygiene problems during handling are among the major causes of postharvest losses. To reduce the high postharvest loss and supply quality products for consumers throughout the year, intervention activities such as the construction of permanent selling place for perishables, practicing various evaporative cooling technologies, outset training, awareness creation, and infrastructures should be effectively and urgently addressed. Ethiopia in general and the North Western part of the 1. Introduction country specifically are exposed to severe food insecurity and By 2050, the world’s population is projected to surpass 10 poverty [4]. billion and will require a 70 percent increase in food pro- Horticultural crops, especially fruits and vegetables re- duction [1, 2]. Hence, feeding a global population becomes main very important for ensuring food and nutritional se- one of the highest challenges. Likewise, FAO [3] indicated curity [5]. Ethiopia has a comparative advantage in many that, in developing countries, nearly 870 million people were fruit and vegetable crops production due to the availability of suffering from food and nutrition insecurity during the year cheap labor, proximity to the export market, its favorable 2010–2012. In recent years, an increase in malnutrition has weather condition, and diverse agroecology which makes it taken place in North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and suitable to produce a variety of horticultural crops [6, 7]. Western Asia. Particularly, in Sub-Saharan Africa, about 27 In the 2017/2018 cropping season, the area covered by percent or 234 million people did not get sufficient food [3]. fruits and vegetables was about 0.55 million hectares with 2 Advances in Agriculture more than 60.78 tons of harvest [8]. However, a large 265 kilometers South-East of the regional state capital, Bahir ° ° proportion of the harvested produce did not reach the end Dar. It is geographically located at 10 20′N 37 43′E (Fig- consumers because of the limited postharvest handling and ure 1). It is located at 2450 m.a.s.l. )e area receives an management practices. Every year, bulk quantities of the average annual rainfall of 1300–1380 mm and the temper- ° ° harvested produce is lost by different factors. Practically, ature varies from 15 C to 22 C based on the 2007 national farmers were forced to sell their hard-earned produce at low survey, the total population of the town was 62,469 with a and unsatisfactory prices due to a lack of storage infra- total of 18,479 households [15]. structures and marketing facilities and seasonal gluts. Moreover, lack of postharvest management practices di- 2.2. Sampling and Method of Data Collection. Our sampling minishes food availability and hence market opportunities unit was individuals who retail fruits and vegetables in Debre and causes a decline in income opportunities due to high Markos town from June 2019 to November 2019. Forty physical loss. Studies verified that, instead of increasing food representative respondents were randomly selected among production, reducing postharvest loss can save scarce re- fruit and vegetable retailers by a simple random sampling sources and the environment [9]. )erefore, reducing the method taking consideration of a random portion of the loss of fresh products after harvest is an essential approach entire retailers to represent the entire data set, where each for better food availability [10]. retailer has an equal probability of being chosen. According to Madrid [11], a large portion of the freshly )is study, therefore, refers to Yamane [16] that pro- harvested produce was lost worldwide after harvest due to vided a simplified estimator to draw sample sizes as different reasons. In developing countries, losses are esti- mated from 20 to 40 percent, whereas they are 10 to 15 n � , (1) percent in developed countries, depending on the season of 1 + N(e) production and commodities nature [11–13]. It is estimated that postharvest losses in developed countries are of an where n is the required sample size, N is the target pop- average of 12 percent to 20 percent from production retail ulation size (total retailers were 85), and e is the precision warehouses to foodservice sites [11]. However, losses in level (5%). developing countries are even higher because of poor storage Our representative sample size n � (85/1 + 85(0.05) ) and food-handling technologies [14]. � 70; however, we limit our sample to 40 based on re- Fresh harvested horticultural crops are living plant parts spondents willing to reply (consent and making in-depth that continue their living processes even after detachment. interviews). )us, they contain a high amount of water, respire more, )e collected data were both of qualitative and quan- generate heat, and are subject to desiccation and mechanical titative nature from primary and secondary sources. )e injury. )eir storage period and shelf-life depend on the rate primary data sources were informant interviews and sem- of utilization of their stored food reserves and the rate of istructured questionnaires using both open- and close- transpiration. After exhaustion of stored food, the produce ended questions. )e closed-ended questions were designed deteriorates. Hence, such perishable commodities require to select an appropriate response and the open-ended proper handling at harvest and after the harvesting period. questions were designed to allowing the respondents to )us, deterioration of produce is minimized in the period freely express their thoughts. Informed consent from the between harvest and consumption through proper handling, respondents was assured during the interview. Fruit crops, storage, and management to satisfy the market requirement such as sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), lime (Citrus aur- and to minimizes their losses. antifolia), banana (Musa spp.), papaya (Carica papaya), In Ethiopia, inappropriate management of fresh horti- citron (Citrus medica), and mango (Mangifera indica), and cultural crops and poor marketing method causes enormous vegetable crops, such as onion (Allium cepa), kale (Brassica losses after harvest on the points of transportation, marketing, oleracea), head cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata), and storage. )us, proper management of harvested com- green pepper (capsicum annum), Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris), modities is essential to reduce postharvest losses and their potato (Solanum tuberosum), tomato (Lycopersicon escu- nutritional improvement, food security, and employment lentum), and carrot (Daucus carota), were assessed during opportunity. To satisfy the demand in existing production, the study period. Sample fruits were collected from the reducing the postharvest losses and maintaining its quality are market and stored for 10 days at room temperature in the vital. In our investigation area, huge quantities of fruits and laboratory and types of causes for postharvest loss were vegetables deteriorated and are lost. )erefore, the present recorded. Secondary data were emphasized using document study estimates the postharvest loss of fruits and vegetables and analysis techniques and systematic review of peer-reviewed identifies the major causes for postharvest losses in, North- literature. western Ethiopia, in the case of Debre Markos. 2.3. Data Analysis. We have used SPSS version 16.0 and SAS 2. Material and Methods version 9.0 statistical software for descriptive and inferential 2.1. Area Description. )e study was held at Debre Markos statistics applied for this investigation. Both descriptive and city administration, East Gojjam zone. It is found 300 ki- inferential statistics were employed to predict and indicate lometers of North-western Addis Ababa, the capital city, and the lost harvest and estimate the major causes for its loss in Advances in Agriculture 3 37°0'0''E 37°42'0''E 38°24'0''E Research Area Kilometers Debre Markos Town 015 30 60 90 East Gojjam zone 37°0'0''E 37°42'0''E 38°24'0''E Figure 1: Location of the study area. our investigation area. Descriptive analysis was realized to vegetables. Similar results were reported by Masood [17] describe the sociodemographic profile and postharvest who reported age and postharvest loss have no significant handling activities using frequency, mean, and percentage. relationship. Gender had also a nonsignificant influence on Furthermore, inferential statistics (using Chi-square test) postharvest loss. )e reason could be due to the fact that the were implemented to explore the significant association majority of fruit and vegetable retailers in the study area between the sociodemographic aspects and fruits and veg- were literate and youth. )e result is in contrast with the etables postharvest losses. findings of Abera et al. [18] who explained that gender has a significant contribution to the postharvest loss of tomatoes. )e present study also indicated that educational status has 3. Results and Discussions (X2 � 8.9422 and p � 0.0301) a significant influence on the loss of horticultural crops after harvest. When the educational 3.1. Sociodemographic Characteristics. )e result of the status and selling experience of the retailers increase, the loss of present finding indicated that eighty-five percent of females fruits and vegetables decreases. Masood [17] and Alemayehu and fifteen percent of males were engaged in fruit and et al. [19] reported similar results as formal education has a vegetable retailing business in Debre Markos town. Seventy significant contribution to the postharvest loss. percent of respondents are within the 36–40-year-old and Chi-square analysis result also indicated that selling 15% of respondents are within 31–35-year-old range. Re- experience has a significant (X � 9.5426 p � 0.0489) rela- garding the informant’s educational status, out of 40 re- tionship with postharvest loss. )e reason could be due to spondents, 22 (55%) had learned their secondary school the experience they had which improved their awareness (grades 7–10). On the other hand, 2 respondents (5%) were about handling methods of harvested fruits and vegetables. illiterate (Table 1). )erefore, the dominant fruit and veg- )e packaging material during transporting and storing has etable retailers in the study area are youths and educated also a significant effect on fruits and vegetables’ loss after persons and currently, it creates employment opportunities harvest. )ere is a significant difference (p< 0.0001) between for the jobless youths. selling duration and the loss after harvest. In the study area, the selling duration of harvested commodities depends on the amount they received or purchased for retail. When they 3.2. Sociodemographic Features, Handlings Practices, and receive a smaller quantity, there will be a shorter storage Postharvest Loss. )e result of the Chi-square test indicated duration to sell the products and vice-versa. )e majority of that there is a significant difference among educational retailers sell their products at roadside/open space areas status, selling experience, selling duration, packaging ma- where the temperature is high which hastens the rate of terial, and postharvest loss. )us, postharvest losses are deterioration of perishables after harvest. )e results agreed dependent on fruit and vegetable seller’s educational status, with those of Kereth et al. [20] and Adugna et al. (2015). )e selling experience, packaging material. However postharvest deteriorate rate of harvested fresh commodities increases as loss is not significant for sex and age of fruit and vegetable they stay for a long time in the market, as their exposure to retailers (Table 2). sunlight and fluctuated environmental conditions ultimately )e age of retailers does not significantly influence changes their aroma, texture, and flavor [20]. (X � 0.5528, p � 0.4572) the postharvest loss of fruits and 9°40'0''N 11°4'0''N 11°40'0''N 12°20'0''N 10°20'0''N 9°40'0''N 10°20'0''N 11°0'0''N 11°40'0''N 12°20'0''N 4 Advances in Agriculture Table 1: Sociodemographic characteristics. Questioners Status Frequency % Illiterate 2 5.0 Read and write only 10 25.0 Educational status Grades 1–6 6 15.0 Grades 7–10 22 55.0 Source: own survey (2019), where % is percentage. Table 2: Chi-square result for losses of fruits and vegetables after harvest and sociodemographic factors and postharvest handlings activities. Variable X d.f. p value ns Gender 0.4293 1 0.5124 ns Age 0.5528 1 0.4572 Educational status 8.9422 3 0.0301 Selling experience 9.5426 4 0.0489 ∗∗ Packaging material 11.6585 2 0.0086 ∗∗∗ Selling duration 22.1574 2 <0.0001 ns ∗ ∗∗ ∗∗∗ nonsignificant; significant difference at 5%; significant difference at 1%; significant difference at 0.1%; n � 40. 3.3. Source of Fruits and Vegetables. Fruit and vegetable 3.5. Transportation Method. Fruit and vegetable retailers in retailers in Debre Markos town purchase the product from the study area purchase the product from nearby farmers wholesalers, nearby farm sites and directly from producers. and wholesalers and transport them by using different )e present study indicated that 65% of respondents pur- transportation methods. A highly significant difference chase the product from both wholesalers and producers (p< 0.0001) was obtained among the transportation methods used. )e present study indicated that 55 percent of followed by wholesalers alone (15%) and producers alone (10%) (Table 3). respondents have transported fruits and vegetables by using hand-drawn gharry followed by both hand-drawn gharry and human back/head, 40 percent, while the remaining 5 percent of respondents were using the head/back of humans 3.4. Types of Packaging Materials Used. A highly significant as transportation method (Figure 3). Tesfaye [7] explained (p � 0.0004) difference between packaging materials used that transportation of harvested fruits and vegetables needs in the study area was observed. Around 35 percent of fruit well-organized services to be accessible on the harvested and vegetable retailers used sacks alone and sacks and place to transport produce as quickly as possible with baskets together to pack and transport, followed by basket minimum damage. Rehman et al. [28] reported that fruits packaging material (20 percent), though the lowest (10 and vegetables should be transported by proper trans- percent) applicable packaging material in fruit and vege- portation and packaging systems to reduce damage. table retailers in the study area was by using wooden boxes (Figure 2). )e reason for the use of sacks and baskets as major packaging material was their accessibility and low 3.6. Marketing/Selling Places. A highly significant difference cost. However, such kind of packaging materials does not (p< 0.0001) was observed in the selling places of fresh fruits properly protect the product and causes mechanical and vegetables. )e present finding indicated that all re- damage and bruising. )e use of inappropriate packaging spondents were displaying and selling guava and citron on material is a basic factor most regularly related to the open spaces/roadsides only, while 67.5 percent, 17.5 percent, maximum level of losses after harvest [21–23]. )e result is and 15 percent of respondents were retailing avocado on in agreement with the finding of Adugna et al. [24]; they open spaces/roadsides, plastic shelters, and houses, re- stated that more than 50% of the respondents use sacks as a spectively (Figure 4). Less than 20 percent of respondents were only selling fruit and vegetables in houses/shops. Al- packing material and people were not experienced in using a wooden box as a packing material at Jimma district. most all fruits and vegetables were sold on the roadside and Likely, Yigzaw et al. [25] reported that retailers at Bahir Dar open places in the study area because of the absence of town transported and stored mango and sweet orange shaded and properly constructed fruit and vegetable selling fruits by using sacks as a packaging material. Seid et al. [26] places. Fresh horticultural commodities are highly vulner- also reported, in South Wollo district, Ethiopia, that sacks able to injuries like mechanical damage because of their soft are used as the major packaging material. Kereth et al. [20] texture and high water content. When the harvested com- reported that the use of sacks does not protect freshly modities are exposed to adverse environmental factors such harvested commodities from damage. Kader and Rolle [27] as extreme temperature and dust during transportation and marketing, their tissues subsequently are softened and rapid also explained that using sack containers for fruits and vegetables creates high heat because of metabolic reaction invasion of postharvest pathogens are caused. Since the harvested fresh fruits and vegetables lack natural defense which ultimately hastens mechanical damage and micro- bial attack. mechanisms in the tissue, the microorganisms in their tissue Advances in Agriculture 5 Table 3: Sources of the commodities. Sources of products Frequency Percentage Wholesalers 6 15.0 Producers 4 10.0 Both wholesalers and producers 26 65.0 Total 40 100.0 Source: own survey (2019). 35.00 35.00 20.00 10.00 Wooden box Sacks Basket Sacks and Basket Types of packaging materials Figure 2: Packaging materials used for fruits and vegetables, n � 40. Different transportation methods -20 Hand drawn gharry On head /Back of Both hand drawn human gharry and human back/head Percent 55 5 40 Figure 3: Percentage of respondents using different transportation methods n � 40. spread rapidly and ultimately make them unfit for con- Poor storage and packaging materials hasten senescence and sumption (Dugan et al., 2015). )e present result is in the loss of quality [29]. Similar results were reported by agreement with the result of Adugna et al. (2013) who Solomon [30]. conducted the study in the Jimma zone. 3.8. Loss during Supply Chain and Its Fate. )e present study 3.7. Type of Storage Material Used and Its Contribution to the revealed that there was a postharvest loss in fruits such as Loss. )ere is a significant difference (p < 0.001) between avocado, sweet orange, lime, banana, papaya, citron, and fruit and vegetable crops storage methods and materials. )e mango) and vegetables such as onion, kale, cabbage, pepper, present study reveals that 25% of fruit and vegetable retailers Swiss chard, tomato, carrot, and potato during transit and in the study area stored their produce separately while 75% storage. Harvested fruit and vegetable retailers dispose of of respondents stored different commodities together. In overripe fruits as waste. A hundred percent of respondents addition, 45% of respondents stored the commodities by explained that there is a loss during the marketing of har- vested fresh commodities. )e result also revealed that the covering a plastic sheet followed by a basket (30%) and jute sack (20%), while 5% of respondents were only storing their majority of (45 percent) the damaged, wilted, and overripe producers in the ventilated area (Table 4). Determining the fruits and vegetables were sold at a discount price (10–15 proper storage method with minimum damage in quality Ethiopian birr/kg) depending on their ripening stage for and quantity and for better marketability and access of the strays (homeless) and juice houses and in extreme case fresh commodities, an efficient marketing system is essential. culled as waste material. However, 20 percent and 20 Percent 6 Advances in Agriculture Fruits and vegetables Selling Place Open/road side Plastic Shelter House Figure 4: )e percentage of selling fruits and vegetables at a market, n � 40. Table 4: Fruits and vegetables storage methods and storing materials. Questioners Options Frequency Percentage X test Yes 30 75.00 ∗∗ Mixing different fruits and vegetables during storage 10.00 No 10 25.00 Basket 12 30.0 Jute sack 8 20.0 ∗∗ Storage material used 13.6000 Ventilated room 2 5.0 Covered by plastic 18 45.0 ∗∗ Source: own survey (2019). Significant difference at p< 0.01. percent, respectively, of respondents explained that they sold knowledge and skill gaps which in turn affect the horti- culture subsector. their damaged fruits and vegetables at lower prices alone and culling them as waste alone. While the remaining 15 percent Sabo (2006) stated that, to enhance and adopt new of respondents were providing damaged, wilted, and technologies, education is an important variable. )erefore, overripe produce for animal fatteners to utilize as animal there is a possibility to minimize fruit and vegetable post- feed (Figure 5). Consuming extremely damaged produce harvest loss in Debre Markos town through providing may have a negative influence on human health and envi- training and proving various postharvest technologies to ronmental safety also. According to Yigzaw et al. [25], in- retailers (zero energy or cooling chamber, establishing well- stead of damping/culling damaged, wilted, and overripe furnished selling shops, etc.) to retailers. )e present study is fruits and vegetables everywhere, they might be used as in line with the study of Zenebe et al. (2015) and Yigzaw et al. [25] who stated that fruit retailers in Ethiopia have very animal feed in a scientific way and should be used as pre- paring compost to use plants as organic fertilizer and other limited skill in physiology and handling practices of har- vested fruit crops postharvest. energy sources. )e present finding is in agreement with the report of Yigzaw et al. [25]. 3.10. Loss after Harvest for Fruits and Vegetables in Different 3.9. Knowledge on Postharvest Handling Practice. All (100 Chains. A significant difference (p< 0.001) was observed for percent) respondents reported they do not have any formal loss after harvest for fruits and vegetables at the selling place knowledge on handling methods of harvest products and and during transportation. )e estimated average losses of they did not receive any training on postharvest handling the fruits and vegetables for retailers range from 5 percent to practices of fruits and vegetables except for the traditional 83 percent depending on the commodity nature. )e knowledge that they have. )ey also reported that they are maximum percentage of total loss for all fruits and vege- tables was observed for lime/lemon (83 percent) followed by very interested in taking any training related to handling practices of harvested fresh commodities (Table 5). )e tomato (30 percent) during marketing/selling and trans- majority of fruit and vegetable retailers in Debre Markos portation. Among the fruit crops, the maximum postharvest town have an educational background. )is is a good loss (55 percent) was observed for lemon during marketing opportunity to provide formal education and training followed by banana (10 percent), guava (8 percent), and related to postharvest handling activities to fill existing mango (8 percent). Among vegetables, the maximum Percent Avocado Sweet orange Lime Banana Papaya Citron Guava Mango Onion Kale Cabbage Pepper Swisschard Tomato Carrot Potato Advances in Agriculture 7 e fate of damaged and over ripen fruits and vegetables 20 20 Sell at low Culling Animal feed Selling at low price price and Culling Figure 5: )e fate of damaged and overripe fruits and vegetables, n � 40. Table 5: Knowledge of postharvest handling practices. Frequency Percentage No 40 100.0 Yes 0 00 Source: own survey (2019). postharvest loss (18 percent) was observed for tomato during results were presented by Tadesse (1991) who revealed the more delicate and highly perishable types of produce (to- marketing followed by head cabbage (15 percent), pepper (10 percent), and carrot (14 percent). During transportation, the matoes, guava) were exposed to higher losses than the less maximum postharvest loss (28 percent) was observed for perishable commodities (carrot, citrus fruits, and cabbage). lime followed by papaya (8 percent). From vegetable crops, the maximum postharvest loss during transportation was 3.11. Major Causes of Postharvest Loss. )e postharvest loss recorded for pepper and tomato (10 percent) each whereas relatively the lowest loss was observed for citron (3.5 and 1.5 occurring at the retailer level in the study area is attributed to many reasons, from the mechanical damage during loading percent during storage/marketing/selling and trans- and unloading, bruising, mold growth, softening due to portation, respectively) and sweet orange (4 and 2 percent frequently touching by hand and pressing, wilting due to loss during storage/marketing/selling and transportation, re- of moisture by transpiration, and marketing in improper spectively). )e present finding also indicated that the highest postharvest loss occurred during marketing com- way. Table 7 shows the types/causes of losses that occur during fruit and vegetable retailing and the result shows that pared with transportation in Debre Markos town (Table 6). )is is because, during handling and marketing, fruits and rotting, mechanical damage, poor handling practices (storage, transportation, and marketing place), poor control vegetables are exposed to dust, high temperature, vehicle dust, and rain and are also infected with various hidden of temperature and relative humidity, and hygiene problems are the major ones during handling of fruits and vegetables, postharvest pathogens which may cause rotting during the postharvest management period. Additionally, the poor respectively. Wilting of vegetable crops is the main problem of almost all retailers because the products are displayed in transportation method has played a significant role in both hot conditions without any modification of relative hu- physiological and mechanical damage of fresh commodities midity and temperature and these result in high transpi- and is an influencing factor for hastening postharvest loss in ration loss. Due to the loss of their water, the fruits lose their marketing/selling. Overload of vegetables and fruits during transit causes mechanical and physiological damage espe- turgidity and shrink when they are stored for more than three or four days, as most retailers responded. )e present cially on poor roads leading to high heat generation and it may hasten their respiration rate which hastens deteriora- result is also in agreement with [31]. tion. Additionally, poor packaging material during storage and transportation also reduces the storage period of fruits and vegetables. According to Sirivatanapa (2006), the 3.12. Challenges of Fruit and Vegetable Retailers in Debre maximum loss of harvested horticultural crops was recorded Markos. Postharvest handling practice is undertaken in the mostly during marketing, transport, and storage place and in traditional method. Fruit and vegetable retailers have some cases through the whole channel. )is is due to the fact explained demands and major constraints/challenges in that fresh commodities after harvest continue the metabolic their marketing performance. Some of the major challenges processes such as transpiration and respiration until their are as follows: stored food and water are exhausted. (1) Absence of permanent and standard selling place. Relatively, the highest percentage of loss was observed (2) Poor marketing structure. from fruit crops compared with vegetable crops. Similar Percentage 8 Advances in Agriculture Table 6: Fruits and vegetables postharvest losses extent. Loss at storage/selling (kg/100 g) Loss at transportation (kg/100 g) Commodity type Frequency Percentage Frequency Percentage Avocado 5 2.52 9 8.45 Sweet orange 4 2.02 2 1.88 Lime 55 27.71 28 26.29 Banana 10 5.04 5 4.69 Papaya 5 2.52 8 7.51 Citron 3.5 1.76 1.5 1.41 Guava 8 4.03 6 5.63 Mango 8 4.03 10 9.39 Onion 8 4.03 4 3.76 Kale 10 5.04 0 0.00 Cabbage 15 7.56 3 2.82 Pepper 15 7.56 10 9.39 Swiss chard 10 5.04 0 0.00 Tomato 18 9.07 10 9.39 Carrot 14 7.05 5 4.69 Potato 10 5.04 5 4.69 ∗∗ ∗∗ χ 177.5403 73.7582 ∗∗ Source: own survey (2019). Significant difference at p< 0.01. Table 7: Causes of postharvest loss. Fruits Type of major loss Avocado Mechanical damage, softening, decay Sweet orange Rupturing, shrivelling Lime Overripe/fast ripening, softening Banana Weight loss, blackening, mechanical damage, rotting Papaya Decay, black spot, crash Citron Bruising Mango Softening, blackspot, mechanical damage Vegetable type of major loss Onion Decay, wilt, shrink, flaccid, sprouting Kale Wilting, loss of green colour Cabbage Bussing, colour change, wilting, mechanical damage Pepper Bruising, decay, wilting, colour change Swiss chard Wilting, loss of green colour Tomato Decay, mechanical damage, blackspot Carrot Mechanical damage, rotting Potato Shrivelling, wounding during harvest, sprouting Source: own field and laboratory observation (2019). (3) Absence of simple storage technologies to maintain 4. Summary and Conclusion and prolong shelf life (cool chambered zero energy). )e present study revealed a significant difference between (4) Unavailability of well-established market infra- sociodemographic factors, handling practices, and post- structure, lack of cooling and storage facilities. harvest loss. Educational status, selling experience, and (5) Poor transportation facilities. packaging material have a significant relationship with (6) )e low market price due to poor quality. postharvest loss. A significant difference was obtained among the transportation methods used, the selling place, (7) Absence of small-scale processing industries. storage methods, and materials. )e majority of retailers (8) Lack of practical skills related to postharvest han- sold fruits and vegetables along the roadsides and in open dling and temperature and relative humidity places. All fruit and vegetable retailers do not have formal management. knowledge on postharvest management practices and they )e present finding are consistent with [32] and are very interested in taking any training related to post- Muluken et al. [31]. harvest loss and handling practices. )e losses after harvest Advances in Agriculture 9 were observed and the average postharvest losses at the fruit Acknowledgments and vegetable retailers were estimated to be 5–83 percent of )e authors are grateful to the respondents of the study. the total purchased products for sale depending on the commodity nature. )e important factors that contribute to fruits and References vegetables loss were packaging materials used for storage and transportation, the place where fruits and vegetables are [1] D. Tilman, J. Fargione, B. Wolff et al., “Forecasting agricul- turally driven global environmental change,” Science, vol. 292, sold, educational status of handlers, rotting, mechanical no. 5515, pp. 281–284, 2001. damage, poor handling, poor control of temperature and [2] FAO, How to Feed the World in 2050, FAO, Rome, Italy, 2009. relative humidity, and hygiene problems. [3] FAO, IFAD 2012 the State of Food Insecurity in the World Generally, to reduce the existing high postharvest loss of 2012: Economic Growth Is Necessary but Not Sufficient to fruit and vegetable crops and supply quality products for Accelerate the Reduction of Hunger and Malnutrition, FAO, consumers throughout the year, sustainable multi- Rome, Italy, 2014. stakeholder’s linkage with responsible bodies is required. [4] FAOSTAT, “Production-fruits and vegetables in ethiopia,” )e present study recommends the following intervention 2015, http://faostat3.fao.org/search/fruits%20and% areas for the future. 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A case study of Et- providing training for producers, wholesalers, and con- fruit distribution company in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,” sumers. Furthermore, infrastructures for fruit and vegetable Master’s thesis, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, crops such as storage, roads for transportation, and pack- Uppsala, Sweden, 2015. aging should be established. At the same time, the gov- [8] CSA, Be Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Agricul- tural Sample Survey. Report on Area and Production of Major ernment and other policymakers should also set precise rules Crops for Meher Season, CSA, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Sta- and regulations regarding licensing of fruit and vegetable tistical Bulletin No 586, 2018. retailers. [9] S. Zorya, N. Morgan, R. L. Diaz et al., “Missing food: the case of postharvest grain losses in sub-saharan Africa,” 2011. Abbreviations [10] R. J. Hodges, J. C. Buzby, and B. Bennett, “Postharvest losses and waste in developed and less developed countries: op- C: Degree celsius portunities to improve resource use,” Be Journal of Agri- AVRDC: Asian Vegetable Research and Development cultural Science, vol. 149, no. S1, pp. 37–45, 2011. Center [11] M. Madrid, “Reducing postharvest losses and improving fruit CSA: Central Statistical Authority quality worldwide: the one-billion-dollar untapped business FAO: Food and Agricultural Organization opportunity,” 2011, http://www.fruitprofits.com/ing/articulo. FAOSTAT: Food and Agriculture Organization Corporate asp?reg=26. Statistical Database [12] A. A. Kader, “Increasing food availability by reducing post- harvest losses of fresh produce,” Acta Horticulturae, vol. 682, m.a.s.l: Meter above sea level pp. 2169–2176, 2005. SAS: Statistical analysis system [13] T. Garnett, Fruit and Vegetables and UK Greenhouse Gas SPSS: Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. 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Debela, G. Daba, D. Bane, and K. Tolessa, “Identification of major causes of postharvest losses among selected fruits in Jimma zone for proffering veritable solutions,” International Journal of Current Research, vol. 3, no. 11, pp. 40–43, 2011. [25] D. Yigzaw, A. Habtemariam, D. Amare, and Amare Hai- leslassie, “Assessment of fruit postharvest handling practices and losses in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia,” African Journal of Agri- cultural Research, vol. 11, no. 52, pp. 5209–5214, 2016. [26] S. Hussein, H. Beshir, and Y. W. Hawariyat, “Postharvest loss assessment of commercial horticultural crops in South Wollo, Ethiopia “Challenges and opportunities”” Journal Food Sci- ence and Quality Management, vol. 17, 2013. [27] A. A. Kader and R. S. Rolle, Be Role of Post-harvest Man- agement in Assuring the Quality and Safety of Horticultural Produce, FAO, Rome, Italy, 2004. [28] M. U. Rehma, N. Khan, and I. 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Kausar, “Postharvest loss assessment of brinjal in some selected areas of Bangladesh,” International Journal of Business, Manage- ment and Social Research, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 118–124, 2016. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Advances in Agriculture Hindawi Publishing Corporation

An Investigation into Major Causes for Postharvest Losses of Horticultural Crops and Their Handling Practice in Debre Markos, North-Western Ethiopia

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Hindawi Advances in Agriculture Volume 2021, Article ID 1985303, 10 pages https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/1985303 Research Article An Investigation into Major Causes for Postharvest Losses of Horticultural Crops and Their Handling Practice in Debre Markos, North-Western Ethiopia 1 2 Yebirzaf Yeshiwas and Esubalew Tadele Debre Markos University, College of Agriculture, Department of Horticulture, Debre Markos, Ethiopia Department of Agricultural Economics, College of Agriculture, Debre Markos University, Debre Markos, Ethiopia Correspondence should be addressed to Yebirzaf Yeshiwas; yebirzaf80@yahoo.com Received 10 July 2021; Revised 15 August 2021; Accepted 26 August 2021; Published 6 September 2021 Academic Editor: Yunchao Tang Copyright © 2021 Yebirzaf Yeshiwas and Esubalew Tadele. )is is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. In developing countries, food systems are mainly characterized by unorganized, traditional supply chains, and limited market infrastructure. Bulk quantity of the harvested produce is lost every year because of the absence of proper postharvest handling and management practices. )e current study was conducted to estimate and identify the major causes for postharvest losses of fruits and vegetables in Debre Markos, north-western Ethiopia. Forty respondents who were retailing fruits and vegetables were randomly selected and qualitative and quantitative data were collected by using direct market observation and semistructured questioners. )e result of the present study revealed significant differences between sociodemographic factors, handling practices, and postharvest loss. Educational status, selling experience, and packaging material have a significant relationship with post- harvest loss. A significant difference was obtained among the transportation methods used, the selling place, storage methods, and materials. )e result also indicated that fewer than 20 percent of respondents practiced selling fruits and vegetables in the resident mini shop. )e majority of damaged produce was sold at a discount price. Retailers do not have formal knowledge of postharvest handling practices. )e average postharvest losses of fruits and vegetables were estimated to be five to eighty-three percent of the market share. Mainly, during retailing, rotting, mechanical damage, poor handling, improper management of temperature and relative humidity, and hygiene problems during handling are among the major causes of postharvest losses. To reduce the high postharvest loss and supply quality products for consumers throughout the year, intervention activities such as the construction of permanent selling place for perishables, practicing various evaporative cooling technologies, outset training, awareness creation, and infrastructures should be effectively and urgently addressed. Ethiopia in general and the North Western part of the 1. Introduction country specifically are exposed to severe food insecurity and By 2050, the world’s population is projected to surpass 10 poverty [4]. billion and will require a 70 percent increase in food pro- Horticultural crops, especially fruits and vegetables re- duction [1, 2]. Hence, feeding a global population becomes main very important for ensuring food and nutritional se- one of the highest challenges. Likewise, FAO [3] indicated curity [5]. Ethiopia has a comparative advantage in many that, in developing countries, nearly 870 million people were fruit and vegetable crops production due to the availability of suffering from food and nutrition insecurity during the year cheap labor, proximity to the export market, its favorable 2010–2012. In recent years, an increase in malnutrition has weather condition, and diverse agroecology which makes it taken place in North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, and suitable to produce a variety of horticultural crops [6, 7]. Western Asia. Particularly, in Sub-Saharan Africa, about 27 In the 2017/2018 cropping season, the area covered by percent or 234 million people did not get sufficient food [3]. fruits and vegetables was about 0.55 million hectares with 2 Advances in Agriculture more than 60.78 tons of harvest [8]. However, a large 265 kilometers South-East of the regional state capital, Bahir ° ° proportion of the harvested produce did not reach the end Dar. It is geographically located at 10 20′N 37 43′E (Fig- consumers because of the limited postharvest handling and ure 1). It is located at 2450 m.a.s.l. )e area receives an management practices. Every year, bulk quantities of the average annual rainfall of 1300–1380 mm and the temper- ° ° harvested produce is lost by different factors. Practically, ature varies from 15 C to 22 C based on the 2007 national farmers were forced to sell their hard-earned produce at low survey, the total population of the town was 62,469 with a and unsatisfactory prices due to a lack of storage infra- total of 18,479 households [15]. structures and marketing facilities and seasonal gluts. Moreover, lack of postharvest management practices di- 2.2. Sampling and Method of Data Collection. Our sampling minishes food availability and hence market opportunities unit was individuals who retail fruits and vegetables in Debre and causes a decline in income opportunities due to high Markos town from June 2019 to November 2019. Forty physical loss. Studies verified that, instead of increasing food representative respondents were randomly selected among production, reducing postharvest loss can save scarce re- fruit and vegetable retailers by a simple random sampling sources and the environment [9]. )erefore, reducing the method taking consideration of a random portion of the loss of fresh products after harvest is an essential approach entire retailers to represent the entire data set, where each for better food availability [10]. retailer has an equal probability of being chosen. According to Madrid [11], a large portion of the freshly )is study, therefore, refers to Yamane [16] that pro- harvested produce was lost worldwide after harvest due to vided a simplified estimator to draw sample sizes as different reasons. In developing countries, losses are esti- mated from 20 to 40 percent, whereas they are 10 to 15 n � , (1) percent in developed countries, depending on the season of 1 + N(e) production and commodities nature [11–13]. It is estimated that postharvest losses in developed countries are of an where n is the required sample size, N is the target pop- average of 12 percent to 20 percent from production retail ulation size (total retailers were 85), and e is the precision warehouses to foodservice sites [11]. However, losses in level (5%). developing countries are even higher because of poor storage Our representative sample size n � (85/1 + 85(0.05) ) and food-handling technologies [14]. � 70; however, we limit our sample to 40 based on re- Fresh harvested horticultural crops are living plant parts spondents willing to reply (consent and making in-depth that continue their living processes even after detachment. interviews). )us, they contain a high amount of water, respire more, )e collected data were both of qualitative and quan- generate heat, and are subject to desiccation and mechanical titative nature from primary and secondary sources. )e injury. )eir storage period and shelf-life depend on the rate primary data sources were informant interviews and sem- of utilization of their stored food reserves and the rate of istructured questionnaires using both open- and close- transpiration. After exhaustion of stored food, the produce ended questions. )e closed-ended questions were designed deteriorates. Hence, such perishable commodities require to select an appropriate response and the open-ended proper handling at harvest and after the harvesting period. questions were designed to allowing the respondents to )us, deterioration of produce is minimized in the period freely express their thoughts. Informed consent from the between harvest and consumption through proper handling, respondents was assured during the interview. Fruit crops, storage, and management to satisfy the market requirement such as sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), lime (Citrus aur- and to minimizes their losses. antifolia), banana (Musa spp.), papaya (Carica papaya), In Ethiopia, inappropriate management of fresh horti- citron (Citrus medica), and mango (Mangifera indica), and cultural crops and poor marketing method causes enormous vegetable crops, such as onion (Allium cepa), kale (Brassica losses after harvest on the points of transportation, marketing, oleracea), head cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. capitata), and storage. )us, proper management of harvested com- green pepper (capsicum annum), Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris), modities is essential to reduce postharvest losses and their potato (Solanum tuberosum), tomato (Lycopersicon escu- nutritional improvement, food security, and employment lentum), and carrot (Daucus carota), were assessed during opportunity. To satisfy the demand in existing production, the study period. Sample fruits were collected from the reducing the postharvest losses and maintaining its quality are market and stored for 10 days at room temperature in the vital. In our investigation area, huge quantities of fruits and laboratory and types of causes for postharvest loss were vegetables deteriorated and are lost. )erefore, the present recorded. Secondary data were emphasized using document study estimates the postharvest loss of fruits and vegetables and analysis techniques and systematic review of peer-reviewed identifies the major causes for postharvest losses in, North- literature. western Ethiopia, in the case of Debre Markos. 2.3. Data Analysis. We have used SPSS version 16.0 and SAS 2. Material and Methods version 9.0 statistical software for descriptive and inferential 2.1. Area Description. )e study was held at Debre Markos statistics applied for this investigation. Both descriptive and city administration, East Gojjam zone. It is found 300 ki- inferential statistics were employed to predict and indicate lometers of North-western Addis Ababa, the capital city, and the lost harvest and estimate the major causes for its loss in Advances in Agriculture 3 37°0'0''E 37°42'0''E 38°24'0''E Research Area Kilometers Debre Markos Town 015 30 60 90 East Gojjam zone 37°0'0''E 37°42'0''E 38°24'0''E Figure 1: Location of the study area. our investigation area. Descriptive analysis was realized to vegetables. Similar results were reported by Masood [17] describe the sociodemographic profile and postharvest who reported age and postharvest loss have no significant handling activities using frequency, mean, and percentage. relationship. Gender had also a nonsignificant influence on Furthermore, inferential statistics (using Chi-square test) postharvest loss. )e reason could be due to the fact that the were implemented to explore the significant association majority of fruit and vegetable retailers in the study area between the sociodemographic aspects and fruits and veg- were literate and youth. )e result is in contrast with the etables postharvest losses. findings of Abera et al. [18] who explained that gender has a significant contribution to the postharvest loss of tomatoes. )e present study also indicated that educational status has 3. Results and Discussions (X2 � 8.9422 and p � 0.0301) a significant influence on the loss of horticultural crops after harvest. When the educational 3.1. Sociodemographic Characteristics. )e result of the status and selling experience of the retailers increase, the loss of present finding indicated that eighty-five percent of females fruits and vegetables decreases. Masood [17] and Alemayehu and fifteen percent of males were engaged in fruit and et al. [19] reported similar results as formal education has a vegetable retailing business in Debre Markos town. Seventy significant contribution to the postharvest loss. percent of respondents are within the 36–40-year-old and Chi-square analysis result also indicated that selling 15% of respondents are within 31–35-year-old range. Re- experience has a significant (X � 9.5426 p � 0.0489) rela- garding the informant’s educational status, out of 40 re- tionship with postharvest loss. )e reason could be due to spondents, 22 (55%) had learned their secondary school the experience they had which improved their awareness (grades 7–10). On the other hand, 2 respondents (5%) were about handling methods of harvested fruits and vegetables. illiterate (Table 1). )erefore, the dominant fruit and veg- )e packaging material during transporting and storing has etable retailers in the study area are youths and educated also a significant effect on fruits and vegetables’ loss after persons and currently, it creates employment opportunities harvest. )ere is a significant difference (p< 0.0001) between for the jobless youths. selling duration and the loss after harvest. In the study area, the selling duration of harvested commodities depends on the amount they received or purchased for retail. When they 3.2. Sociodemographic Features, Handlings Practices, and receive a smaller quantity, there will be a shorter storage Postharvest Loss. )e result of the Chi-square test indicated duration to sell the products and vice-versa. )e majority of that there is a significant difference among educational retailers sell their products at roadside/open space areas status, selling experience, selling duration, packaging ma- where the temperature is high which hastens the rate of terial, and postharvest loss. )us, postharvest losses are deterioration of perishables after harvest. )e results agreed dependent on fruit and vegetable seller’s educational status, with those of Kereth et al. [20] and Adugna et al. (2015). )e selling experience, packaging material. However postharvest deteriorate rate of harvested fresh commodities increases as loss is not significant for sex and age of fruit and vegetable they stay for a long time in the market, as their exposure to retailers (Table 2). sunlight and fluctuated environmental conditions ultimately )e age of retailers does not significantly influence changes their aroma, texture, and flavor [20]. (X � 0.5528, p � 0.4572) the postharvest loss of fruits and 9°40'0''N 11°4'0''N 11°40'0''N 12°20'0''N 10°20'0''N 9°40'0''N 10°20'0''N 11°0'0''N 11°40'0''N 12°20'0''N 4 Advances in Agriculture Table 1: Sociodemographic characteristics. Questioners Status Frequency % Illiterate 2 5.0 Read and write only 10 25.0 Educational status Grades 1–6 6 15.0 Grades 7–10 22 55.0 Source: own survey (2019), where % is percentage. Table 2: Chi-square result for losses of fruits and vegetables after harvest and sociodemographic factors and postharvest handlings activities. Variable X d.f. p value ns Gender 0.4293 1 0.5124 ns Age 0.5528 1 0.4572 Educational status 8.9422 3 0.0301 Selling experience 9.5426 4 0.0489 ∗∗ Packaging material 11.6585 2 0.0086 ∗∗∗ Selling duration 22.1574 2 <0.0001 ns ∗ ∗∗ ∗∗∗ nonsignificant; significant difference at 5%; significant difference at 1%; significant difference at 0.1%; n � 40. 3.3. Source of Fruits and Vegetables. Fruit and vegetable 3.5. Transportation Method. Fruit and vegetable retailers in retailers in Debre Markos town purchase the product from the study area purchase the product from nearby farmers wholesalers, nearby farm sites and directly from producers. and wholesalers and transport them by using different )e present study indicated that 65% of respondents pur- transportation methods. A highly significant difference chase the product from both wholesalers and producers (p< 0.0001) was obtained among the transportation methods used. )e present study indicated that 55 percent of followed by wholesalers alone (15%) and producers alone (10%) (Table 3). respondents have transported fruits and vegetables by using hand-drawn gharry followed by both hand-drawn gharry and human back/head, 40 percent, while the remaining 5 percent of respondents were using the head/back of humans 3.4. Types of Packaging Materials Used. A highly significant as transportation method (Figure 3). Tesfaye [7] explained (p � 0.0004) difference between packaging materials used that transportation of harvested fruits and vegetables needs in the study area was observed. Around 35 percent of fruit well-organized services to be accessible on the harvested and vegetable retailers used sacks alone and sacks and place to transport produce as quickly as possible with baskets together to pack and transport, followed by basket minimum damage. Rehman et al. [28] reported that fruits packaging material (20 percent), though the lowest (10 and vegetables should be transported by proper trans- percent) applicable packaging material in fruit and vege- portation and packaging systems to reduce damage. table retailers in the study area was by using wooden boxes (Figure 2). )e reason for the use of sacks and baskets as major packaging material was their accessibility and low 3.6. Marketing/Selling Places. A highly significant difference cost. However, such kind of packaging materials does not (p< 0.0001) was observed in the selling places of fresh fruits properly protect the product and causes mechanical and vegetables. )e present finding indicated that all re- damage and bruising. )e use of inappropriate packaging spondents were displaying and selling guava and citron on material is a basic factor most regularly related to the open spaces/roadsides only, while 67.5 percent, 17.5 percent, maximum level of losses after harvest [21–23]. )e result is and 15 percent of respondents were retailing avocado on in agreement with the finding of Adugna et al. [24]; they open spaces/roadsides, plastic shelters, and houses, re- stated that more than 50% of the respondents use sacks as a spectively (Figure 4). Less than 20 percent of respondents were only selling fruit and vegetables in houses/shops. Al- packing material and people were not experienced in using a wooden box as a packing material at Jimma district. most all fruits and vegetables were sold on the roadside and Likely, Yigzaw et al. [25] reported that retailers at Bahir Dar open places in the study area because of the absence of town transported and stored mango and sweet orange shaded and properly constructed fruit and vegetable selling fruits by using sacks as a packaging material. Seid et al. [26] places. Fresh horticultural commodities are highly vulner- also reported, in South Wollo district, Ethiopia, that sacks able to injuries like mechanical damage because of their soft are used as the major packaging material. Kereth et al. [20] texture and high water content. When the harvested com- reported that the use of sacks does not protect freshly modities are exposed to adverse environmental factors such harvested commodities from damage. Kader and Rolle [27] as extreme temperature and dust during transportation and marketing, their tissues subsequently are softened and rapid also explained that using sack containers for fruits and vegetables creates high heat because of metabolic reaction invasion of postharvest pathogens are caused. Since the harvested fresh fruits and vegetables lack natural defense which ultimately hastens mechanical damage and micro- bial attack. mechanisms in the tissue, the microorganisms in their tissue Advances in Agriculture 5 Table 3: Sources of the commodities. Sources of products Frequency Percentage Wholesalers 6 15.0 Producers 4 10.0 Both wholesalers and producers 26 65.0 Total 40 100.0 Source: own survey (2019). 35.00 35.00 20.00 10.00 Wooden box Sacks Basket Sacks and Basket Types of packaging materials Figure 2: Packaging materials used for fruits and vegetables, n � 40. Different transportation methods -20 Hand drawn gharry On head /Back of Both hand drawn human gharry and human back/head Percent 55 5 40 Figure 3: Percentage of respondents using different transportation methods n � 40. spread rapidly and ultimately make them unfit for con- Poor storage and packaging materials hasten senescence and sumption (Dugan et al., 2015). )e present result is in the loss of quality [29]. Similar results were reported by agreement with the result of Adugna et al. (2013) who Solomon [30]. conducted the study in the Jimma zone. 3.8. Loss during Supply Chain and Its Fate. )e present study 3.7. Type of Storage Material Used and Its Contribution to the revealed that there was a postharvest loss in fruits such as Loss. )ere is a significant difference (p < 0.001) between avocado, sweet orange, lime, banana, papaya, citron, and fruit and vegetable crops storage methods and materials. )e mango) and vegetables such as onion, kale, cabbage, pepper, present study reveals that 25% of fruit and vegetable retailers Swiss chard, tomato, carrot, and potato during transit and in the study area stored their produce separately while 75% storage. Harvested fruit and vegetable retailers dispose of of respondents stored different commodities together. In overripe fruits as waste. A hundred percent of respondents addition, 45% of respondents stored the commodities by explained that there is a loss during the marketing of har- vested fresh commodities. )e result also revealed that the covering a plastic sheet followed by a basket (30%) and jute sack (20%), while 5% of respondents were only storing their majority of (45 percent) the damaged, wilted, and overripe producers in the ventilated area (Table 4). Determining the fruits and vegetables were sold at a discount price (10–15 proper storage method with minimum damage in quality Ethiopian birr/kg) depending on their ripening stage for and quantity and for better marketability and access of the strays (homeless) and juice houses and in extreme case fresh commodities, an efficient marketing system is essential. culled as waste material. However, 20 percent and 20 Percent 6 Advances in Agriculture Fruits and vegetables Selling Place Open/road side Plastic Shelter House Figure 4: )e percentage of selling fruits and vegetables at a market, n � 40. Table 4: Fruits and vegetables storage methods and storing materials. Questioners Options Frequency Percentage X test Yes 30 75.00 ∗∗ Mixing different fruits and vegetables during storage 10.00 No 10 25.00 Basket 12 30.0 Jute sack 8 20.0 ∗∗ Storage material used 13.6000 Ventilated room 2 5.0 Covered by plastic 18 45.0 ∗∗ Source: own survey (2019). Significant difference at p< 0.01. percent, respectively, of respondents explained that they sold knowledge and skill gaps which in turn affect the horti- culture subsector. their damaged fruits and vegetables at lower prices alone and culling them as waste alone. While the remaining 15 percent Sabo (2006) stated that, to enhance and adopt new of respondents were providing damaged, wilted, and technologies, education is an important variable. )erefore, overripe produce for animal fatteners to utilize as animal there is a possibility to minimize fruit and vegetable post- feed (Figure 5). Consuming extremely damaged produce harvest loss in Debre Markos town through providing may have a negative influence on human health and envi- training and proving various postharvest technologies to ronmental safety also. According to Yigzaw et al. [25], in- retailers (zero energy or cooling chamber, establishing well- stead of damping/culling damaged, wilted, and overripe furnished selling shops, etc.) to retailers. )e present study is fruits and vegetables everywhere, they might be used as in line with the study of Zenebe et al. (2015) and Yigzaw et al. [25] who stated that fruit retailers in Ethiopia have very animal feed in a scientific way and should be used as pre- paring compost to use plants as organic fertilizer and other limited skill in physiology and handling practices of har- vested fruit crops postharvest. energy sources. )e present finding is in agreement with the report of Yigzaw et al. [25]. 3.10. Loss after Harvest for Fruits and Vegetables in Different 3.9. Knowledge on Postharvest Handling Practice. All (100 Chains. A significant difference (p< 0.001) was observed for percent) respondents reported they do not have any formal loss after harvest for fruits and vegetables at the selling place knowledge on handling methods of harvest products and and during transportation. )e estimated average losses of they did not receive any training on postharvest handling the fruits and vegetables for retailers range from 5 percent to practices of fruits and vegetables except for the traditional 83 percent depending on the commodity nature. )e knowledge that they have. )ey also reported that they are maximum percentage of total loss for all fruits and vege- tables was observed for lime/lemon (83 percent) followed by very interested in taking any training related to handling practices of harvested fresh commodities (Table 5). )e tomato (30 percent) during marketing/selling and trans- majority of fruit and vegetable retailers in Debre Markos portation. Among the fruit crops, the maximum postharvest town have an educational background. )is is a good loss (55 percent) was observed for lemon during marketing opportunity to provide formal education and training followed by banana (10 percent), guava (8 percent), and related to postharvest handling activities to fill existing mango (8 percent). Among vegetables, the maximum Percent Avocado Sweet orange Lime Banana Papaya Citron Guava Mango Onion Kale Cabbage Pepper Swisschard Tomato Carrot Potato Advances in Agriculture 7 e fate of damaged and over ripen fruits and vegetables 20 20 Sell at low Culling Animal feed Selling at low price price and Culling Figure 5: )e fate of damaged and overripe fruits and vegetables, n � 40. Table 5: Knowledge of postharvest handling practices. Frequency Percentage No 40 100.0 Yes 0 00 Source: own survey (2019). postharvest loss (18 percent) was observed for tomato during results were presented by Tadesse (1991) who revealed the more delicate and highly perishable types of produce (to- marketing followed by head cabbage (15 percent), pepper (10 percent), and carrot (14 percent). During transportation, the matoes, guava) were exposed to higher losses than the less maximum postharvest loss (28 percent) was observed for perishable commodities (carrot, citrus fruits, and cabbage). lime followed by papaya (8 percent). From vegetable crops, the maximum postharvest loss during transportation was 3.11. Major Causes of Postharvest Loss. )e postharvest loss recorded for pepper and tomato (10 percent) each whereas relatively the lowest loss was observed for citron (3.5 and 1.5 occurring at the retailer level in the study area is attributed to many reasons, from the mechanical damage during loading percent during storage/marketing/selling and trans- and unloading, bruising, mold growth, softening due to portation, respectively) and sweet orange (4 and 2 percent frequently touching by hand and pressing, wilting due to loss during storage/marketing/selling and transportation, re- of moisture by transpiration, and marketing in improper spectively). )e present finding also indicated that the highest postharvest loss occurred during marketing com- way. Table 7 shows the types/causes of losses that occur during fruit and vegetable retailing and the result shows that pared with transportation in Debre Markos town (Table 6). )is is because, during handling and marketing, fruits and rotting, mechanical damage, poor handling practices (storage, transportation, and marketing place), poor control vegetables are exposed to dust, high temperature, vehicle dust, and rain and are also infected with various hidden of temperature and relative humidity, and hygiene problems are the major ones during handling of fruits and vegetables, postharvest pathogens which may cause rotting during the postharvest management period. Additionally, the poor respectively. Wilting of vegetable crops is the main problem of almost all retailers because the products are displayed in transportation method has played a significant role in both hot conditions without any modification of relative hu- physiological and mechanical damage of fresh commodities midity and temperature and these result in high transpi- and is an influencing factor for hastening postharvest loss in ration loss. Due to the loss of their water, the fruits lose their marketing/selling. Overload of vegetables and fruits during transit causes mechanical and physiological damage espe- turgidity and shrink when they are stored for more than three or four days, as most retailers responded. )e present cially on poor roads leading to high heat generation and it may hasten their respiration rate which hastens deteriora- result is also in agreement with [31]. tion. Additionally, poor packaging material during storage and transportation also reduces the storage period of fruits and vegetables. According to Sirivatanapa (2006), the 3.12. Challenges of Fruit and Vegetable Retailers in Debre maximum loss of harvested horticultural crops was recorded Markos. Postharvest handling practice is undertaken in the mostly during marketing, transport, and storage place and in traditional method. Fruit and vegetable retailers have some cases through the whole channel. )is is due to the fact explained demands and major constraints/challenges in that fresh commodities after harvest continue the metabolic their marketing performance. Some of the major challenges processes such as transpiration and respiration until their are as follows: stored food and water are exhausted. (1) Absence of permanent and standard selling place. Relatively, the highest percentage of loss was observed (2) Poor marketing structure. from fruit crops compared with vegetable crops. Similar Percentage 8 Advances in Agriculture Table 6: Fruits and vegetables postharvest losses extent. Loss at storage/selling (kg/100 g) Loss at transportation (kg/100 g) Commodity type Frequency Percentage Frequency Percentage Avocado 5 2.52 9 8.45 Sweet orange 4 2.02 2 1.88 Lime 55 27.71 28 26.29 Banana 10 5.04 5 4.69 Papaya 5 2.52 8 7.51 Citron 3.5 1.76 1.5 1.41 Guava 8 4.03 6 5.63 Mango 8 4.03 10 9.39 Onion 8 4.03 4 3.76 Kale 10 5.04 0 0.00 Cabbage 15 7.56 3 2.82 Pepper 15 7.56 10 9.39 Swiss chard 10 5.04 0 0.00 Tomato 18 9.07 10 9.39 Carrot 14 7.05 5 4.69 Potato 10 5.04 5 4.69 ∗∗ ∗∗ χ 177.5403 73.7582 ∗∗ Source: own survey (2019). Significant difference at p< 0.01. Table 7: Causes of postharvest loss. Fruits Type of major loss Avocado Mechanical damage, softening, decay Sweet orange Rupturing, shrivelling Lime Overripe/fast ripening, softening Banana Weight loss, blackening, mechanical damage, rotting Papaya Decay, black spot, crash Citron Bruising Mango Softening, blackspot, mechanical damage Vegetable type of major loss Onion Decay, wilt, shrink, flaccid, sprouting Kale Wilting, loss of green colour Cabbage Bussing, colour change, wilting, mechanical damage Pepper Bruising, decay, wilting, colour change Swiss chard Wilting, loss of green colour Tomato Decay, mechanical damage, blackspot Carrot Mechanical damage, rotting Potato Shrivelling, wounding during harvest, sprouting Source: own field and laboratory observation (2019). (3) Absence of simple storage technologies to maintain 4. Summary and Conclusion and prolong shelf life (cool chambered zero energy). )e present study revealed a significant difference between (4) Unavailability of well-established market infra- sociodemographic factors, handling practices, and post- structure, lack of cooling and storage facilities. harvest loss. Educational status, selling experience, and (5) Poor transportation facilities. packaging material have a significant relationship with (6) )e low market price due to poor quality. postharvest loss. A significant difference was obtained among the transportation methods used, the selling place, (7) Absence of small-scale processing industries. storage methods, and materials. )e majority of retailers (8) Lack of practical skills related to postharvest han- sold fruits and vegetables along the roadsides and in open dling and temperature and relative humidity places. 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Advances in AgricultureHindawi Publishing Corporation

Published: Sep 6, 2021

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