Post-harvest training is a quality training conducted by the quality assurance office to guide farmers on best practices to ensure that produce reaches the market in good state. Basically, quality assurance can be defined as follows:
Quality Assurance is the maintenance of a desired level of quality in a service or product, especially by means of attention to every stage of the process of delivery or production.
Mr. Kwanele Magagula, quality assurance officer for NAMBoard conducted an on-farm quality/ post-harvest handling training for Sidzakeni FC whereby all staff working in the farm was trained and the following was stressed:
Produce Quality Management
The objective of the company’s quality assurance is to ensure that all produce received and distributed to the market meets certain approved standards with regards to the produce itself as well as production and processing of such products.
Harvest & Produce Handling Hygiene
The quality of a product is maintained and enhanced during its harvest and post-harvest management
- At harvesting, anything that gets into a direct contact with produce should be kept clean (containers, tools, vehicles, personnel)
- ensure that packing, packaging material and storing conditions are hygienic.
- sort the produce according to a quality criterion.
Main Causes of Post-Harvest Losses:
- Harvesting of immature fruits.
- Harvesting equipment is not clean.
- Harvesting during high temperature.
- Careless Driving.
- Too high loading/stacking.
- Unsuitable transport containers
- Heat accumulation or very poor ventilation within the transport vehicles.
- Rough handling.
- Unsuitable packaging material
Loading / Unloading:
- Rough handling.
- Loading too high/ Bad stacking.
- Inadequate ventilation in packages and carrier used.
- Storage temperature is too high.