Post-Harvest Management and Value Addition


The final quantity and quality of the agricultural produce solely depends on the post harvest management practices being adopted by the farmers or other food handlers at the times of crop harvest. Some of these practices include handling, grading, pre-conditioning, curing, ripening, packaging, transient storage, transportation, distribution and also long term storage where possible. In countries like India, a significant portion of fruits, vegetables and other crop losses are reported every year due to the existence of poor infrastructure as well as improper post harvest operations. This has not only created a considerable gap in gross production and net availability i.e. from “farm to fork” availability of food but has simultaneously limited the processing of different food commodities both perishable and non-perishable as well as has lowered India’s chances towards contributing to the global food basket on a large scale. As per the recent reports, Indian farmers have faced post-harvest losses amounting to Rs 93000 crores in 2019 which is actually one of the biggest constraints behind India’s low share in agricultural exports on global basis. Presently, India is the 8th largest agri-exporter in the world following top exporting countries such as European Union, USA, Brazil, China, Canada etc. Despite of the existence of well-established postharvest institutions supported by the government as well as private sector, lack of awareness is still prevailing among the farmers regarding proper food handling and its storage which often attracts mechanical losses such as bruising, cracking, cuts, contamination by fungi and bacteria etc. as well as physiological losses that include changes in respiration, transpiration, pigments and flavors etc. All these losses result in lowering of market prices and also compromises consumer acceptance of such agricultural produce.