The post harvest losses around 35 to 40 percent of fruit and vegetable produce is wasted. Annually, the country loses about € 29 billion through the post-harvest wastage of fruits and vegetables. India being the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables, after China. But there are several different post-harvest events, from the producer to the consumer. The PHL directly affect all the producers, suppliers and consumers who are forced to pay higher prices due to extensive losses in the marketing chain Quality deterioration is quite substantial during the transport fruits and vegetables from the F&V producing region to consumers. It has been observed that the farm gate price available to the farmers is only 25 percent of the retail price in India, as compared to 70 percent in the Netherlands and USA.
The Department of Nano Science and Technology at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University has been trying to reduce post-harvest losses of fruits at all links of the supply chain. The most prominent factor is the lack of proper harvest practices, transportation and cold storage facilities.
On one hand country is concerned to double the income of the farmers by 2022 and the truth is that the produce of the farmers from the farm gate to the consumer through mandies.
Poor handling of fruit results in post-harvest losses of nearly 40 percent in tropical countries. This project aims to extend the harvest and improve fruit quality and shelf life. It builds on an earlier Canadian International Food Security Research Fund project, which demonstrated that hexanal (a widely used biochemical compound) can be a successful tool for addressing the problem. Advancing science, enhancing fruit life.
The project uses cutting-edge science to extend and optimize the use of hexanal for pre- and post-harvest applications to other commercial fruits, such as bananas, papaya, and citrus. Researchers will improve packaging systems for transporting fruit using hexanal impregnated bio-nano-particles and bio-wax dip treatments.
The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in India, the Industrial Technology Institute in Sri Lanka, and the University of Guelph in Canada will work with research institutions in the West Indies, Kenya, and Tanzania to generate new knowledge on innovations with hexanal sprays, biowax, and nano-packaging materials. They will also look at opportunities for commercializing the technologies at scale.
Taking new technologies to market Research on scaling up will identify suitable, practical methods for wide-scale adoption and market entry. Options include:
-producing nano-fibre matrices for commercial use
-applying the technologies to larger volumes of fruits
-packaging for different market requirements
-extending the lessons from mangoes to other tropical fruits The use of green nanotechnologies from bio-wastes, instead of metal-or carbon-based nano-particles, is environmentally sustainable and lowers production costs. Improving lives and livelihoods.
The project is expected to significantly reduce post-harvest losses, improving incomes and livelihoods for smallholder fruit farmers living in the five target countries. It is also expected to lead to new economic opportunities for women farmers engaged in post-harvest operations.
This project is funded under the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF), a program of IDRC undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD).
Krishi Jagran/New Delhi