1. Agripedia

Postharvest Technology: Important Things to Keep in Mind after Harvesting

Disha Jain
Disha Jain

Postharvest technology is an interdisciplinary science and technique applied to agricultural produce post harvesting.

The purpose of this application is to conserve, process, package, distribute, market and utilize the produce so that the food and nutritional requirements can be fulfilled. This makes the material more readily usable and economically more remunerative. It involves all treatments or processes that occur from time of harvesting till the time food is in consumer's hand.

Activities included in Post harvest technology :

  • Technical activities: includes harvesting, field drying, threshing, cleaning, storage, and processing;

  • Economic activities: includes transporting, marketing, quality control, nutrition, extension, information and communication, administration and management.

Main Objectives of applying postharvest technology to the harvest :

1. to sustain quality of produce

2. to preserve food safety

3. to reduce post harvest losses i.e. time between harvest and consumption.

Main elements of Post - harvesting system :

1. Harvesting - the time of harvesting depends on the degree of maturity of crop as it affects post harvesting process mainly storage and maintenance.

2. Pre - harvest drying - performed mainly in case of cereals and pulses.While it ensures good preservation but heights the risk of attack by birds and insects.

3. Transport - Quite a care should be taken in transporting a really mature harvest. Based on the place and conditions the collection and initial transport of harvest depends.

4. Post harvest drying - Duration of full drying process depends on weather and atmospheric conditions as if the grain is not dry enough, it is vulnerable to mould and can result in rotting during storage.

5. Threshing - harvest shouldn't be threshed before it is dry enough. Furthermore, if grain is threshed when it is too damp and then is stored immediately it will be much more susceptible to attack from microbes.

6. Storage - Adequate facilities, effective hygiene and monitoring is the for long term effective storage. In closed places, control of cleanliness, temperature and humidity is particularly important. If the produce is stored in a refrigerated place, the water and quality loses can be reduced to quite an extent.

7. Processing - Excessive threshing can also in grain losses ; like cracks and lesions which can make them vulnerable to flies and insects.

8. Marketing - Marketing is the final part in the post-harvest system, that helps in buying and delivering of produce to the consumers.

Importance of Post - harvesting technology :

  • Increases land and labor productivity that enhance total production.

  • Minimize postharvest losses

  • The main purpose of using postharvest technology is to maintain or enhance the quality of the produce.

  • Postharvest technology can help in meeting food requirement of growing population by eliminating avoidable losses making food more nutritive.

  • It helps in generating more employment and income level.

  • It is quite more economical and time saving than that the production activity to obtain the same quantity of particular commodity.

  • Helps in enhancement of employment opportunities for rural women.

  • Through postharvest technology rural industries can be created.

Post - harvest losses 

In developing countries, nearly 65% of lost food occurs at the production, processing and postharvest stages. Depending on the crop, between 15 and 35% of food may be lost before it even leaves the field. In developing countries, food spoilage and waste accounts for annual losses of around US$310 billion.

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