EFFORTS TOWARDS THE REDUCTION IN POST-HARVEST LOSSES OF CABBAGE

Paul K. Wahome

Abstract


For a profitable cabbage production, growers should reduce losses in the field, enhance quality and safety of the produce after harvesting, and supply the produce at its best possible condition to the consumers. After harvesting, the quality of produce usually cannot be improved, but can only be maintained. The most basic factor affecting good quality is harvesting at proper stage of maturity. The most important quality characteristics of fresh market cabbage are colour, firmness, crispness, and freedom from decay and rot. High temperatures during post-harvest period and the use of non-protective packages are the major sources of high level damage and deterioration, which greatly reduces the potential post-harvest life of all fresh produce including cabbage. Assessing post-harvest losses of fresh produce provides benchmark information for determining loss reduction interventions to increase profitability and competitiveness of farming and marketing ventures. The most common post-harvest problems of cabbage in the supply chain are physical damage, bacterial soft rot, leaf yellowing, and wilting. Storage of cabbage at 4-10 C, can effectively delay leaf yellowing and maintain leaf chlorophyll content. Low temperature or cold storage is the single most effective method of prolonging the post-harvest life of fresh produce. Weight loss, respiration rate and ethylene production can also be reduced at low temperatures and the head firmness maintained. In many developing countries, the fresh produce industry is hampered by lack of efficient and effective supply chains. The supply chains are generally not organised, are fragmented, and losses in product quality and quantity are usually high, which are absorbed by farmers as reduced farm-gate price and by consumers as increased purchase price.


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