Post-harvest loss management can be defined as a method and technique applied to increase the shelf life of the product. Post-harvest systems should be thought of as encompassing the delivery of a crop from the time and place of harvest to the time and place of consumption, with a minimum loss, maximum efficiency, and maximum return for all involved. Postharvest technology is gaining importance for increasing agriculture productivity and growers intent to become a producer -cum-processor by utilizing the technologies of processing. Post-harvesting includes harvesting, threshing, storage, processing, packaging transportation, and marketing as well.
Factors affecting postharvest quality
- Food supply
- Water supply
- Air embolism
- Bacterial plugging
- Hard water
- Growth tropism
- Mechanical damage
Importance of Postharvest Technology/Processing:
- Increasing land and labor productivity to enhance total production.
- Minimizing postharvest losses to make a greater amount of availability for distribution.
The purpose of postharvest processing is to maintain or enhance the quality of the products and make it readily marketable.
- Postharvest technology has the capability to meet the food requirement of a growing population by eliminating avoidable losses making more nutritive food items. This process has resulted in the capital drain from rural to urban areas, and create employment opportunities in rural areas. It helps to generate more employment and income.
- Investment in postharvest measures is more economical and time-saving than that the production activity to obtain the same amount of particular commodity.
- Through economic growth and social development, poverty will be elevated.
- Enhancement of employment opportunities for rural women.
- Postharvest technology has the potential to create rural industries.
Post- harvest loss trend
Grains may be lost in the pre-order harvest, harvest, and post-harvest stages. Pre-harvest losses occur before the process of harvesting beings and may be due to insects, weeds.
Harvest losses occur between the beginning and completion of harvesting and are primarily caused by losses due to shattering. Losses are a measurable reduction in food kinds of stuff and may affect either quantity or quality. They arise from the fact that freshly harvested agricultural products are a living thing that breathes and undergoes changes during post-harvest handling. In developing countries, most food loss takes place after crop harvest between the field and the market. However, the specific cause of post-harvest loss varies widely, depending on crop type, region, culture, weather, and farmers’ incomes. While there is no single root cause of post-harvest loss, a number of proposed challenges identify three key issues: poor storage, lack of training, and limited data. Challenge for producers, traders, and handless are always present.
Here are some of the factors that can affect post-harvest management. Agriculture inputs and structures are hard to obtain. The lack of infrastructure, proper., knowledge, and other important Pre-harvest inputs can go to waste if post-harvest handling is not done properly for smallholder farmers, the lack of financial support can break their livelihood. Gender inequalities also play a role in agricultural challenges. Women farmers are often given less assistance and opportunities than what they actually need. Providing them with ownership, as well as access to education, financial assistance, additional labor force, and infrastructure are all challenges to the operation and livelihood of women farmers worldwide.
Postharvest loss reduction technology
Postharvest losses occur on large scale- almost a third of the world’s food going to loss. Having known the importance of post-harvest management, it is also essential to learn the ways to implement better handling process and eventually achieve a more sustainable world. Now technology and innovative techniques are helping workers in the agriculture sector bring down post-harvest loss. One such postharvest approach is the use of hermetic technology. This simple yet remarkable practice can be used to control insect infestation, protect the quality, preserve the quantity, and ensure food safety. Proper post-harvest technologies can minimize post-harvest losses. Quality cannot be improved after harvest. It is therefore important to harvest at optimum maturity. Cleaning, sorting, and transportation are the major post harvest activities and that should be done appropriately and timely.