Improving fruit and vegetable packaging
Published 2006-08-28 00:00:00
FRUITS and vegetables are an important sub-sector in the agricultural sector because they are valued as protective food. They are very rich source of minerals, vitamins providing more energy per unit weight than cereals. Pakistan has a wide range of agro-climatic condition, which allows the production of a variety of fruits and vegetables. However, there is a wide gap between availability and the per capita nutritional requirement of fruits. Low availability of quality fruits and vegetables is mainly due to considerably high post-harvest losses, poor transportation, improper storage and low processing capacity with a growing population. The increased production of fruits and vegetables and other agricultural produce will be fully realised only when they reach the consumer in good condition and at a reasonable price. The post-harvest losses could be considerably reduced by adopting improved packaging, handling and efficient system of transport. Packaging of fruits and vegetables is undertaken primarily to assemble the produce in convenient units for marketing and distribution. Requirements: The package must stand up to long distance transportation, multiple handling, and the climate changes of different storage places, transport methods and market conditions. In designing fruit packages one should consider both the physiological characteristics of the fruit as well as the whole distribution network. The package must be capable of protecting the product from the transport hazards; preventing the microbial and insect damage; minimising the physiological and biochemical changes and losses in weight. Careful packing of fruits and vegetables is necessary to keep the produce in place with minimum shaking. Fruits and vegetables are normally packed in layers in crates and in each layer products are packed alternately placing the beak of one in between the...
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