Harvesting_ Processing_ and Transportation

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					Harvesting, Processing, and Transportation
             When to Harvest - Maturity Standards versus
                         Harvesting Indices
                                                 Amos Blumenfeld*


        Harvesting in the optimal stage of fruit development has a pronounced effect on income. Harvesting too early
        results in incomplete use of the yield potential of an orchard, and in fruits which arc not at their pcak quality.
        Delaying harvest results in losses due to fruit abscission and softening, leading to shortened shelf life. reduced
        storage, and increased intcmal disorders. Considerations of harvesting criteria will he discussed in general, with
        examples of several fruits.

* Agricultural Research Organisation, The Volcani Center. Bel
  Dagan 50250. Israel.

        Fruit Packing House Operations to Improve Returns
                                 Clive Murray* and Cameron Georget


        Packing houses arc commonplace on larger orchards in Australia. With shortages of unskilled lahour. increasing
        labour costs. and a requirement to improve quality. Thai primary produce". packers. and exporters are investing
        in packing shed machinery to improve returns. Examples from existing packing sheds in '111ailand and Australia
        in comparison with traditional methods of handling fruit in Thailand. justify investment in equipment in both the
        mango and citrus industries in Thailand based on minimal throughputs. Benefits are shown to be savings in labour
        and reduction of postharvest losses. This is in addition to the other benefits that include easier supervision and
        higher possihlc throughputs.

AT an FAO regional expert consultation on handling,                  • increased demand for the product; or
processing, storage, and transport of horticultural pro-             • decreasing postharvest losses of product caused by
;Jucc held in Bangkok in 1990, postharvest loss figures                 incorrect or inadequate postharvest treatments.
ror fruit in Southeast Asia were reported to range from                In this paper we attempt to show why and how pack-
I}--IOO% for banana, 15-30% for citrus, 20--33% for                  ing sheds improve returns to growers.
mango, and 40-1 OO'k for papaya.
    The highly perishable nature of fresh horticultural                                   Background
produce means that the problems and solutions can be
very complicated. Many of the problems relate to partial             By way of example we will concentrate on mango pro-
or total quality loss during the marketing chain. While              duction, but with sorties into other industries.
the solutions may he known. they are not always                        There are three reasons why mangoes deteriorate after
arplied. This may be the result of lack of knowledge by              harvest:
th~ specific operator. poor managcment/supervision,                  • physical deterioration;
ard/or economic factors.                                             • postharvest diseases; and
    The packing shed is the focal point for application of           • physical injury.
pc,stharvest treatments and quality standards. The entire
process, specific to the product being handled. correctly            Physical deterioration
a]:plied and supervised, is essential to deliver a consis-
tently high quality product as demanded by the overseas                 Examples of physical deterioration include: excessive
or local market.                                                     ripeness; chilling injury; weight loss; and green-skinned
    Any investment in a packing shed needs to be justi-              ripe fruit caused by incorrect ripening temperatures
fied through:                                                           Excessive ripeness. Overripe fruit is more susceptible
• increased returns by generating a higher selling                   to physical injllry and breakuown. To some extent,
    price;                                                           development of ripening can be slowed with correct
• increased returns by decreasing production Ipacking                temperature management.
    costs;                                                              Chilling injury. Most tropical fruit arc sensitive to
                                                                     temperatures below 100e. Mango. cv Kensington, will
                                                                     suffer from chilling injury at temperatures below I3°C,
* PSF    Equipment (1hailand! Co Ltd. 312/30 Ruam Chitr
                                                                     although the development oj' chilling injury is timel
    Townhouse, Sukhumvit Soi 22. Klong Tocy. Bangkok,
    Thailand.                                                        temperature dependent.
-;- George and Courtier Pty Ltd. Cnr Fison Ave and Holt St.             Weight loss. Weight loss is not a serious problem in
    Eagle Farn1. Queensland 4009. Australia.                         mangoes unless extended periods are required between

harvest and the consumer markd, i.e. greater than 7                   brushing; and/or vibratinl1 of mangoes during transport.
days. Other tropical fruits. Iychee and rambutan for                  To avoid scuffing of thl' fruit. the peking shed equip
example. arc extrcmcly sensitive to weight loss.                      ment should be cleaned rc~ularly with "tnitisers.
   In some parts of the USA. mango waxes arc being                       Excessive brushing fl'l p(llishing will show as grey
used to improve the storage lire uf the fruit. However.               brown ;m::lS on the dWl'ks of the fruit. Brushing should
storage at the conee! temperature at humidities above                 not be I('ngcr than :,0 seconds on soft brushes. Vibration
9W1r· is recollllllended in ;\u\tralia if extended holding            daillage during trampert results when the fruit arc
periods arc required.                                                 packed too loosely. P:\cks should be tight and slightly
   Incorrect rijJcning [Ctllj'<TUlUrcs. \1angoes will not             mcrpackeLl at the rack ing shed.
skin colour correctly if they arc ripened at too high a                  IllIjJflc/ dW)fogc. A drop hl'ight of more than 300 nun
temperature. although flesh colour is not significantly               will cause damage to unripe ami sprung fruit. Ripe fruit
alTcctcd.                                                             arc llluch more sensitive. Means of minimising impact
   For cv. Kcnsingt'lIl. best flavour development is when             damage include Illanual handling, pallet ising. and
fruit are ripened at 27°C, while best external skin colour            proper carton design.
is best at 16°(, a c()mpromise of 20 21°(, is normally                   f'rcs.\ure dOlllage. Pressure damage can result if, for
used.                                                                 example. cartons collapse or arc overpacked. Unripe
                                                                      fruit can be handled in bulk bins. but sprung and ripe
Disease devl'lopment                                                  fruit will be damaged if packed more than tvvo fruit
   The two major postharvest diseases of mang() arc
anthracnose and stelll-end rot. Both infect the fruit on              Cost Benefits of Mechanisation in Packing
the tree. but do not generally develop until the fruit                             Shed Operations
ripens. Regular field sprays ale necessary to reduce the
level of inrection. Also, it is now standard practice in              Gelwral
Australia to apply a postharvest dip of hot Benlate.
either in the packing line or as a st:lmktlone operation to             Typic.·al packing sheel "perations IJsually include
control both diseases. The treatment should be applied                sOllle or al! '1fth" following:
within 24 hours of han'Cst.                                           • ReceivaL checking. and unloading
   Other disea'C's such as 'tramit rot' can be panly con-             • Packaging, including \\ a\hin~, \\,:txing, trcatTllcnt
trolled through gn()(1 sanitation and by ensuring that the              with rungicide. grading. si/ing. packing
packing area is clean and free of decomposing m:lteriaL                 Despatch, checking, loading
Aspergillus CllllllllOllly galils entry as a result uf poor           • StOlage, fumigatioll. ripening. curling. degn~cning,
conditions.                                                             cool ing, etc.

Physical injur)                                                       Labour savings

   Physical injuries include' '<Iphurn: hot vvater injury;               Dno/'I'ing. In Thailand. mangoes for export arc tra-
lenticel spotting: abrasioll injury: illlpact injury: ane!            ditionally channdlcd through middlemen who buy from
pressure bruising.                                                    a number or growers. In these cases, fruit arc nonllally
   Sap hum. Sap burn call be controlled either chemi-                 delivered already desappl'd, this operation being done
cally or physically. ;\ I'; solutillil or hydrated lime.              on-farm by the growers. Dcsappll1g in the packing shed
citric acid. nr sodium bicarbonate added to the wash                  is not always required.
water fllay help. Detergent washes arc also used to                      1l1e exception to this will be the larger. more profes-
reduce injury caused by sap burn. An alternative is to                sional growers/coillpanie'; who arc able to export direl·!.
harvest the fruit with the stem attached and then desap               These operators will have their nwn desapping proce-
on a commercial desapper or flleshed rack.                            dures.
   Hot Imter scald. This can he caused if either the tem-                Traditional methods " j cksapping require about 6- 7
perature or dip time is exceeded. V,lricty's vary in their            persons to handle GOO kg nf fruit per ]mllf. 1\ fl1L'chanical
temperature tolerance. with :-.iang Klarng Wan being                  desapper can handle the same vvork \1, ith .' people.
able to tolerate .'i:ioC ami "am Dok Mai 50-S2°e. In                     TIle financial savin)'s he're may not be signiricmt at
cOfllmercial d!p tanks. both ll'nlperature and dip time               present. However. it is possible that within a few vcars
can be controlled.                                                    labour rates in Thailand could rise to Raht2()()!day
   Lenriccl sj'()lIing. This can result if the fruit are held         (ljSSX) elr more.
for extended periods in the wash water.                                  Of greater current importance is the unavailability of
   Abrasion injury. Abrasi<lll injury fllay be caused by:             unskilled farm labour in Th;liland. The investment in
fruit being brushed on ,Iirty l'quirlllcnt: too much                  industry in Thailand has absorbed Illuch of the labour.

Farm owners are now faced with serious labour short-                Such potential losses are difficult to quantify, but
ages for both pre- and postharvest operations. This has           assuming only a 20% loss because of postharvest dis-
resulted in losses as the grower has been unable to man-          eases, the potential losses on say, the Hong Kong
ually handle the harvest.                                         market, could be as given in Table 2. A 20% loss here
   New farms are now being designed with mechanisa-               would represent Baht 83 610.00. This is in addition to
tion in mind whereas in the past, farm layouts were               the loss in reputation and possible future orders. We
designed to allow maximum numbers of trees per unit               believe that sea freight of Thai mangoes has not devel-
area.                                                             oped as it should have because of previous cxpcriences
   Sorling/packing. Traditional methods of sorting the            with such losses.
fruit are completely manual and are both slow and
labour-intensive.                                                 Table 2.    Estimates of postharvest handling costs (Baht/kg)
   A lack of uniform fruit size affects both speed of
                                                                                                     No treatment             Treatment
packing and final presentation of the packed cartons.
   With packers packing uniform fruit sizes to standard           Fruit                                    IS.OO                15.00
counts per carton, they need to concentrate only on fruit         Treatment                                 0.00                 0.20
quality.                                                          Labour                                    0.4{)                0.1 X
   The estimates in Table I indicate labour savings from          Carton (Baht 18.00/12 kg)                  1.50                1.50
mechanical packing of almost Baht 1OOO/day.                       Transport (local)                         0.20                 0.20
                                                                  Sea freight (US$4000IlSt)                 6.80                 6.80
Table 1.    Sorting and packing cost estimates a                  Documentation                             0.33                 0.33
                                                                  Sub-total                                24.23                24.01
Packhouse operation             No. of labourers required         Total plus margin                        27.87                27.61
                                                                  Total value/container (Baht)       41 S 050.00            414150.00
                           Mechanised          Manual
                             system            system
                                                                     Estimates of the cost benefits of mechanised packing
Unloading                        2                 2              shed operations are given in Table 3. Note that these
Dcsapping                        2                 S.6            assume that refrigeration and packing costs are equal
Repacking                        0                 I              and that this example covers the sale of mangoes from
Singulation                       I                0              the packer to the wholesaler. The example indicates
Sizing                           0                 S.5            that, for 10000 trays of mangoes, the difference in
Packing                          3                 4.3
Cartons                           I
                                                                  returns could be as high as $A US39 120.00. This could
Loading                          2                 3              be achieved by the installation of a treatment and grad-
                                                                  ing system costing approximately $AUS50 000.00.
Total                      II x SO        23.4 x 80
                                                                  Table 3.    The cost-~benefit of mechanising average-size
a Assume labour costs of Baht 80JXVday                                        (10 (lOO trays) mango packing houses in Australia.

Quality savings                                                                                      Treated                Untreated

                                                                  Trays dispatched                10000.00              10000.00
   Apart from the reduction in labour inputs, there are           Wastage en route              2% ~ 200.00          i 0% 1000.00
the additional benefits of quality improvement. This              Trays saleable                    9S00.00               90(X).OO
leads to increased returns and an improvement in grow-            Wastage during sale           5% ~ 490.00         2mc ~ 1800.00
ers' profits.                                                     period
   Postharvest losses can adversely affect the percent-           Total trays sold                   9310.00                  7200.00
age of marketable fruit. This is controllable with appli-         A verage price per tray        $AUSi2.00                  SA US8.00
cation of correct postharvest procedures. The benefits of         Total value                     111720.00                  57600.00
                                                                  A verage cost of                 IS 000.00                     O.fX)
postharvest treatment of mangoes have been well docu-
                                                                  treatment/tray ~ $I.SO
                                                                  Nett value                       96 no.oo                  57600.00
   Because of the way in which fruit are purchased in
Thailand - through some middleman sourcing from a                 Source: George and Courtier Ply Ltd. unpubli\hl'd data.
number of growers - the application of some form of
postharvest treatment is essential. The exporter under               The treatment is so dramatic in effect that, whereas
these circumstances has no control over the preharvest            only 25'10 of the untreated line may be saleable 10 days
program. It is possible that under such buying condi-             after picking, at least 85% of the treated fruit will still be
tions and without postharvest protection, losses could            saleable. It is only in recent years that the growers in
reach 50%.                                                        Australia have realised the benefits of correct posthar-

vest treatment, either through their own facilities or                                    Another Example
those of others.
                    Other Advantages
                                                                             A leading pamela exporter annually exports about
There are other advantages of mechanical handling sys-                    500000 pieces of fruit per year. Traditionally these were
tems on which accurate costs cannot be easily calcu-                      waxed by hand, requiring a workforce of about 70. With
lated. TIlese are listed in Table 4.                                      a mechanised wash/wax/dry system designed for
                                                                          pomelo, his staff requirements were reduced to about 25
Table 4.       Miscellaneous advantages of mechanical fruit               workers.
               handling systems                                              Also, hand waxing had caused problems with anaero-
                                                                          bic respiration leading to bitter off-flavour development.
Operation         Mechanised system           Manual system               With a mechanical system, wax application is accurately
                                                                          controlled, preventing such problems. Wax consump-
Handling          Manually handled            Manually handled
                  twice, desapping and        at least 5 times.           tion is also reduced by up to 50%.
                  packing.                                                   In addition, the fruit are washed to remove dust and
                                                                          chemical residues, further improving the appearance of
Treatment         Dcsappcd without            Desapping done at           the commodity after it has been waxed.
                  contacting the floor.       ground level.
                  Water sprays remove         encouraging disease                              Conclusion
                  dirt, dust. leaves etc.     Normally no hot
                  Hot water treatment         water treatment
                  possible in line.           carried out.
                                                                          It is relevant to note that the local market is now
                                                                          demanding that citrus, including lower grade fruit from
Cooling/          Fruit arc brushed for  Fruit skin is not                northern Thailand, be waxed. As the middle class in
brushing          improved presentation. cleaned.                         Bangkok demands fruit that looks better and lasts
                                                                          longer, pressure will be put on growers and packers to
Sizing            Accurate over the           Variable between            invest in equipment that delivers the required product.
                  whole day's                 worker and time of          As noted this is already beginning to happen with
                  production.                 day.                        citrus.
                                                                             Thai packers and exporters are turning more to post-
Packing           Faster, more uniform   Packing slow and
                  pack. Machine sets the regulated by the
                                                                          harvest systems to:
                  pace.                  worker or                        • reduce labour in the packing shed;
                                         supervisor.                      • improve quality for both local and export markets;
                                                                          • increase volume of exports; and
Space             Requires less space.                                    • increase demand of their produet.

Supervision       Supervision of staff
                  easier as there are fewer
                  of them.

Labour            Fewer staff required.

Quality           Postharvest treatment       No control over
                  ensures less post-          disease
                  harvest disease.            development.

             Fruit Handling Systems in Developing Countries
                                            Ma. Concepcion C. Lizada*


         Most developing countries arc in the tropics where fruit handling systems require measures to ameliorate or
         eliminate the adverse effects of high temperatures and relative humidities. In most cases. appropriate systems
         have been developed for ex port fru its. rather than fmit intended for domestic consumption. Environmental factors
         and the lack of appropriate support systems make the local marketing orfruit in developing countries a high~risk
         enterprise. The fruit handling systems and marketing arrangements in developing countries have cvoh'ed in a
         manner that takes these factors into considnation.
            Experience in research and development work on fruit handling systems in the Philippines has clearly under~
         lined the role that simple technological innovations. such as those designed li)r heat dissipation. reduction of
         physical injury. or disease control. can play in rcducing risks. This paper illustrates this ohservation hy descrihing
         work on the handling systems for mangoes. hananas. and papaya in the Philippines.

THE    development of appropriate handling systems for                Moreover. relatively high temperatures in the field
fruit, or any produce for that matter. requires familiarity           during fruit development or in the handling route can
with the nature llfthe product and its interaction with the           render the tropical fruit more susceptible to chilling
postharvest environment. This is illustrated by thc trian~            injury and other disorders. The combination of high
gle of postharvest interactions (Fig. I), which deter~                temperature and relative humidity favours the growth of
mines the technical feasibility of a postharvcst                      postharvest pathogens and, therefore, the development
technology or a handling system. The commodity,                       of rots during handling. The tropical environmcnt is also
whose postharvest behaviour and quality are detennined                favourable to the survival of insect pests, some of which
by its genetic characteristics and physiological status.              are of quarantinc significance and may infest the fruit in
constitutes the base of this interaction. Inherent quality            the field or after harvest. These factors have to be given
at harvest is defined by preharvest factors. These include            due consideration in developing fruit handling systems
environmental factors such as temperature. relative                   in tropical countries.
humidity, water potential, and light. as well as cultural
and pest management practices. However. the ultimate
quality is the end~result of the interactions of the com~
modity with the postharvest environment. Handling
systems might have a direct elTect on the fruit. These
might be satisfactory, but might also favour the prolife~                 environment
ration or survival of postharvest pests and pathogens.
Conversely. a treatment that might guarantec fruit dis~
infestation may also render the fruit unmarketable.
   Many developing countries arc ill tropical regions.
where the product might be exposed to elevated tem~
peratures, which accelerate fruit deterioration through                                        Genetic characteristics,
the enhancement of normal physiological processes                                               physiological status
such as respiration and ethylene production and action.

*   Postharvest Horticulture Training and Rcsl,arch Centrc.             Figure I.   rhe triangle of postharvest interactions (modified
    University of the Philippincs at Los Banos. College.                            after 1\:('lson. Cnivcrsit) of California at Davis.
    Laguna. Philippines.                                                            unpublished data

   Superimposed UpUJI the requircTllcJlt of technical fea-           the production and hand Iing systellls for major horticul-
sibility are those related to econllmic viability and                tural fruits vary, depending on the target market, which
acceptability, giveJl the existing situation in the handling         might be categorised into export. local higher class, and
mute. Thus, in the development of appropriate systems                traditional domestic markets (Table I). Typically. the
the following questions have to be considered: (a) Docs              handling systems for export fruits are well developed
the handling system work, i.e. docs it meet the objective            and organised relative to those for fruits intended for
or  extending shelf life, reducing disease, or effectively           local markets. Preharvest care and the whole range of
disinfesting the fruit without adversely affecting qual··            postharvest operations needed to meet the quality
ity'! (bl Docs it pay, i.e. is the added cost of a treatment         requirements of the importing country all entail added
offset by the benefits gained? and (e) Is it acceptable"             costs. which are, however, offset by the income derived
Such considerations necessitate an integrated view of                from export fruits.
handling requirements. which constitute only part of the
production-marketll1g continuuIll (Fig. 2). whether in a                Table l.        Types of markets I(lr somc major tropical fruits in
developed or developing c(\untry situatioll. Very fre-                                  the Philippincs.
quently in developing countries. however. the support
systems needed, e,g. farll1-to-ll1arket mads, facilities for            Fruit               Markets
the maintenance of the cool chain and cOJlllllunications.
                                                                         Banana             Export markds (Japan, liong Kong. the Middle
extension services. credit. and appropriate policies arc                                    East. Nl'W Zealand. Singapore. Korea)
inadequate or might not even be in place. Moreover, the                                     llighcr class markets. e.g. supermarkets and
nature and scale of production and trading iJl developing                                   mar~l'ts      catering primarily to tourists
countries render horticultural marketing a risky enter-                                     Typical wet markets
prise.                                                                   Mango              Export markets (Japan, Hong Kong. Singapore.
   The variety of handling systems for horticultural pro-                                   Australia, E.C.)
duce and other perishables that have evolved in devel-                                      Local markets
oping countries highlight the market-defined nature of                  Papaya              Export market (Hong Kong)
                                                                                            Local markets
their development. In the Philippines, for example, both

                                              I   MARKET TRENDS + OPPORTUNITIES                   I
                     MARKET                                                                                      MARKET
                  INFORMATION                                                                                 INFORMATION

                                           PRODUCT                                CONSUMERS
      I              Nurseries                                                                                                             T
      N         Seed production sites                                                                     Retail                           R
      F                                                                                                                                    A
      R                                                                                                                                    N
      A                                                                            Price                      Wholesale                    S
      S                                                                                               T                                    P
      T             Farmland
                                                                                                      H            Trading
      R                                   D                                                                                                R
      U                                                                         Costs                                                      T
      C                                   U
      T                                                                                                     Storage facilities             S
      U                                                                                                                                    Y
      R                Inputs                                                                                Packing house                 S
                                                                 Costs                                                                     T
                     labour for site prepn.                                                               Inputs for PH                    E
                         culture, etc                                                       S                                              M
                                                    o                                   T
                                pestiCides              N                                       labour
                                          Irrigation                              containers
                                                    machines               chemicals
                      CREDIT                                                                                       SUPPORT

Figure 2. 'nH: production-marketing chain (FAO 19R9)

   The domestic marketing of tropical fruits in devciop-            ing bunches arc protected by bagging and tagged to
ing countries is more problematic. The inherent perish-             facilitate identification of fruit scheduled for harvesting.
ability of the product, and technical and extra-technical              Harvcsting usually involves two workers, with one
inetTieiencie, in the handl ing route. on the one hand, and         severing the bunch and the other suppmting it. In most
the relatively low capacity ot most domestic consumers              plantations the bunches are clll1\'eyed from the field to
to pay as well as the highly elastic demand for these               the packinghouse by a system of c:abkways designed to
fruits, on the other, render the domestic markeling of              avoid damage during hauling. Thruugh all the packing-
tropical fruits in developing countries a high-risk enter-          house operations, care is takcn to protcct the fruit from
prise. Forexamplc. many fruit growers and traders in the            injury which might result ill blemished fruit. Standard
Philippines dread the summer months, when a widc                    procedures for determining calibration size and visual
variely of fruits is available in the local marh'! am!              quality arc followed before deblossoming. dehanding.
losses attributed to high temperature increase.                     and washing. Defective, under- and over-sized hands arc
   The seemingly manipulative practices of traders frc-             culled and the acceptable fruit weighed. subjected to
quently serve as a hedge against the risks involved in              fungicide treatment. labelled and packed in 12.5-, 13- or
marketing these commodities. Quality is usually sacri-               18-kg capacity fibreboard cartons lined with pcrforated
ficed in the traders' deliberate attempt to cut costs. This         polycthylene film to avoid 'box burns'. These cartons
is exemplified by the traders' practice of requiring the            arc of sufficient mechanical strength to withstand sub-
overpacking of fruits in crates or bamboo baskets, while            sequent handling, stacking. and wetting during ripening.
paying only for the volume corresponding to the norma!              The cartons arc loaded into ships and transported at the
capacity of the container. Not only is this pr'Ktice                recommendcd temperature of 12.5°(', The outcome is
intended to reduce packaging C<lsts. it is perceived as a           high quality fruit which meets the standard requirements
means to compensate for losses which can neither be                 of consumers in the export market.
completely avoided, nor compensated for by raising                     SOl11e of the reject Cavendish bananas arc sea-shipped
consumer prices. The trader usually makes up for such               over a period of 3-4 days from Davao to Manila. These
losses by directly or indirectly depressing famlgate                arc bulk-loaded in non-refrigerated but ventilated rive-
prices. with the producer gctting less for his product.             or ten-footer vans. The fruit might also be packed in
This. in turn. depresses any incentive for the fannCf to            wooden crates or even fibreboard cartons.
improve pmduction practices to enhance the inherent                    'Lakatan' grown in the Davao area goes through a
quality of his fruits.                                              similar handling route; however. the operations for
                                                                    ripening in Manila differ. Although one trader ripens
      Banana Handling Systems in the                                'Lakatan' with ethylene at controlled temperature, most
      Philippines - a Typical Example                               fruit of this cultivar is allowed to ripen with or without
                                                                    carbide at non-refrigerated temperatures, as full colora-
The postharvest handling systems for banana in the Phi-             tion is achieved even at ambient temperatures. Most
lippines typify the above situation. Export bananas con-            'Lakatan' bananas arc retailed in traditional outlets, with
sist mainly of Cavendish types, which constitute about              a smaller proportion going to superJ11arkets and highcr
98~~, of the bananas exported to Japan. The other mar-              class fruit stalls. In contrast, most reject Cavendish
kets include Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Middle                   bananas arc retailed in higher class markets, which
East. Some of the rejects from export arc shipped to                require that the fruits be ripened at controlled tempera-
Manila, although the principle cultivars sold in local              tures with the use of ethylene gas. A small proportion is
markets consist of 'Baba', 'Lakatan', and 'Latundan'.               allowed to ripen at ambient temperatures and is sold
The combined volume of the cultivars intended for                   mainly in traditional wet markets. A small volume of
domestic consumption constitutes approximately 7<)(,:;              'Latundan' bananas is produced in Davao, employing
of the total production (Valrnayor et al. 1990).                    cultural management techniques approximately those
                                                                    for Cavendish. This cultivar, which is more perishable,
Systems for bananas intended for export or sale in                  is airrlown to Manila and sold in higher class outlets.
higher class markets
                                                                    Systems for bananas intended for traditional wet
   The production and marketing system for Cavendish                markets
bananas for export is an integrated and well-coordinated
system. Bananas are grown in large plantations where                   In contrast to fruits grown for export or for higher
standard pract ices starting from land preparation to pest          class markets in Manila, bananas intended for most wet
and cultural managemcnt are observed. Both field sani-              markets arc principally produced in backyard farms or
tation and aerial spraying are employed to control pests            obtained from perimeter plantings scattered over wide
and diseases. Thc plants are propped with bamboo and                areas. Little care is provided other than the removal of
recommended fertilisation rates are followed. Develop-              dry leaves. No effort is exerted to ensure that the fruits

harvested are of sufficient maturity, with most producers            with injury and are unaware of the nature of stress ethy-
relying simply on finger size. Harvesting is usually a               lene production. Handlers at the port usually stand, sit,
one-man operation, frequently resulting in some damage               or even walk on the fruits during loading.
to the bunch. De-handing is sometimes done in the field.                Traders and ship operators are only too aware of the
with both the bunch and the hands often corning into                 consequent reduction in shelf life with high tempera-
contact with the soil. The scale of production necessi-              tures. However, loading areas in the ports have no pro-
tates the consolidation of fruit from different farms, col-          visions for shading the fruits to be loaded or the filled
lected over a period of 1-2 days. Fruits are hauled from             container vans, which are left out in the sun while
the field to the collection area on horseback. carabao-              awaiting loading into the ship's hold.
drawn carts, or even tricycles.                                         Injury, high temperatures, over-mature or ripening
   Although bananas can be grown almost anywhere in                  fruits, and the type of container van used have led to
the Philippines, the Manila market depends on the island             losses arising from the 'green-sort' disorder. When this
of Mindanao for a consistent supply of the fruit. as this            disorder occurs. a large proportion of fruits in a van
island is outside the typhoon belt. Most bananas come                becomes feOllented and, in many instances, is rendered
from seattered farms in the Davao and Agusan prov-                   unfit for human consumption. This condition is referred
inces.                                                               to by traders as /aga (literally translated as 'boiled'). A
   Fruits assembled from small famls in Agusan are                   portion of the shipment might ripen normally, but has to
transported in ten-wheeler trucks. jeepneys or trailers to           be disposed of immediately. Many wholesalers and
the port. where they arc bulk-loaded into ten-footer                 retailers simply refuse to buy from such loads, unless
conventional (non-ventilated) container vans, following              bananas are in short supply.
a pattern of loading which approximates a tight pack ami                Besides the physical problems existing in this han-
is believed to minimise vibration in transit. Transport              dling system, shippers have to contend with such risks as
time is 3 days. Consignees in Manila take over the ship-             being 'shut-out', i.e. their loaded container van not pro-
ment upon arrival. Stripping is usually done soon after              vided space on the ship's hold. or arrival delayed due to
arrival, with several wholesalers buying the volume they             unforeseen breakdown of the vessel.
require from the same load. The wholesalers also haul
the fruits from the van to waiting jeepneys and transport            Innovations to alleviate the problems
them to wholesalers or retail markcts.
                                                                        Through the years, banana traders and shippers have
Problems encountered                                                 introduced innovations designed to cushion the effects
                                                                     of a system fraught with inefficiencies and barely fit for
   Various problems arise from technical and extra-                  handling most perishable crops. For example, a pattern
tcchnical inefficiencies in the handling route for bananas           for piling fruits up in the van has been developed to
intended for the local market. Due to the nature and scale           minimise movement (Fig. 3). This is reminiscent of the
of production of these fruits. the inherent quality is usu-          system employed in wholesale markets in Thailand.
ally inferior. As most farmers are hardly in a position to           where bananas arc ripened in piles with carbide.
undertake the marketing of their fruits and have to rely                Having to use the container van type currently availa-
on traders, they are usually not aware that lack of pre-             ble in Nasipit or Cagayan de Oro, shippers have resorted
harvest care and appropriate cultural management result              to opening the doors during transit to help dissipate heat
in losses as the fruit goes through the handling route.              and provide some ventilation. To discourage pilferage
This lack of awareness compounds the effect of low                   the open end of the load is covered with bamboo slats.
famlgate prices on the farmer's willingness to provide               More recently. large bamboo crates (Fig. 4), which have
pre-harvest care to the developing fruit.                            the same capacity as ten-foot containers, have been
   Fruits in a single shipment are invariably of mixed               allowed by some shipping lines. As many of these crates
maturities and a wide range of expected green life. It is            could not withstand the rigours of handling during the
not surprising, therefore, that some fruits ripen prema-             return trip to Mindanao, one shipping line constructed
turely in transit.                                                   steel banana crates patterned largely after the bamboo
   Careless handling throughout the marketing route                  crates (Fig. 5). Both the bamboo and steel crates are lined
ref1ects the lack of awareness of the need to protect fruits         with banana stalks to cushion to minimise abrasion.
against injury. During a forum. members of the Confed-                  Despite all these innovations, losses of about 30% are
eration of Shipowners and Operators (CISO) insisted                  not unusual. Occasionally, entire shipments are lost.
that bulk-loading of bananas cannot inflict damage even
to the bottom fruits as these are hard and resistant to              Potential for postharvest interventions
injury. Although ship operators and traders are con-
scious of the effects of injury on visual quality, they do              Considering the scale of operations of banana trading,
not associate the reduction of green life of a whole load            the conditions that fruits are subjected to, and the risks

Figure 3. Pattern of stacking bananas bulk-loaded in container vans. side view (left) and top view (right). The right-hand
          photograph was taken during emptying of the van in Manila: the stacking pattern is most Clearly seen in the le ft-most
          stack of fruit.

Figure 4. Bamboo crates used for shipment of bananas                Figure 5. Steel crates used for shipment of bananas

encountered in the present handling system, shippers and              The first consisted in addressing, through seminars
traders are understandably reluctant to adopt new tech-             and discussion, the lack of awareness of the requ ire-
nologies that add to marketing costs. Our experience at             ments for handling perishable crops. After we had
the Postharvest Horticulture Training and Research                  emphasised the need for ventilation and presented the
Centre (PHTRC) at the University of the Philippines at              design of a ventilated van to the representatives of eISO
Los Banos, in implementing the project 'Postharvest                 present at a forum, one shipping line had a number of
Technology for Bananas' sponsored by the International              ventilated vans built. More of such vans have since been
Development Research Centre (IORC) of Canada,                       constructed and demand for them is high among the
pointed to several possibilities for intervention.                  banana shippers of Davao.


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