Characterization of pre- and postharvest losses of tomato supply chain in Ethiopia
This article (PDF) in the Agriculture & Food Security Journal presents qualitative and quantitative post-harvest losses of tomato in Ethiopia. Tomato production in Ethiopia is done by relatively young married individuals and often three-quarter of the land holding is allocated to vegetable production. All investigated producers used irrigation in dry seasons and sold most of their tomato produce to wholesalers. However, significant post-harvest losses occur along the value chain: about a quarter of tomato produced is damaged. The forms of damage include physical or mechanical damage, disease and insect pest infection, poor shape, color and size of produce or combinations of these factors. At farm level, post-harvest loss is a continuum of disease and pest attack, lack of access to appropriate tools and skills during harvesting, poor post-harvest handling and lack of market to sell the produce immediately after harvest. Post-harvest loss which occurred at one value chain node extends to the other chain actors and aggravates along the value chain due to poor handling, transporting, storage and ambient temperature which deteriorate the produce quality. To reduce the post-harvest losses of tomato, serious interventions are needed, including skill building to improve pre-harvest crop management practices, capacity for post-harvest handling including cool storage, improving market information, facilities and services.