Sunday, 10 February 2013

Major Consumption of Citrus; Post Harvest Losses

Written by Imran Arif, Hannan Rashid, Dr. Muhammad Anjum Aqueel, Dr. Muhammad Adnan Shahid and Dr. Rashad Mukhtar Balal               
In a developing country like Pakistan, post-harvest losses of citrus fruits are in the range of 23-38% as against 5-10% in developed citrus growing countries like Brazil, USA, Australia, Spain, Italy and Israel. Primary factors of post-harvest losses in citrus are mechanical, physiological, pathological or environmental factors are directly responsible. Mechanical loss is caused by careless handling during harvesting, packing, transportation, storage etc. Some insects and birds are also responsible for the mechanical injury. A significant portion of losses during post-harvest period is attributed to diseases caused by fungi and bacteria. Besides attacking fresh fruits and vegetables, these organisms also cause damage to canned and processed products. Environmental factors, temperature, humidity, composition and proportion of gases in controlled atmospheric storage also play an important role. High temperature and relative humidity favors the growth of micro-organisms which cause extensive damage to the produce. In-adequate harvesting facilities and rough handling results in bruising and increase possibilities of contact of the produce with the soil which leads to contamination with organisms and rotting done in fruits. Besides, use of improper machinery and equipments in mechanical harvesting cause serious losses. Inadequate storage facilities at the producing or marketing centers leaves the produce to the natural causes of losses i.e. Decay by organisms, respiration, transpiration and other biochemical reactions. Transportation and distribution are the important areas of post-harvest loss. Physical and mechanical injuries occur during transportation and distribution. Longer shipment and distribution period eventually cause heavy losses.

Citrus stands first in area and production among the world’s tree fruits. In Pakistan also, citrus fruits are the most important fruit crops grown on the area of 160,000 hectares with production of 1.5 MMT annually. Citrus fruit is grown in all four provinces of Pakistan but Punjab produces over 95% of the crop because of its greater population, favorable growing conditions and adequate water. So to attain maximum output we need to minimize these losses to achieve maximum yield and farmers also get more income for their efforts.

Original Article Here

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