Alternative methods for harvesting and fieldpacking of mandarin fruit in Tanzania


These slides, presented by Ramadhani O. Majubwa, share results of the project comparing different harvest and packing methods for mandarin citrus fruit, as part of the larger project for building postharvest capacity in Tanzania.

Background and objectives

Tanzania ranks the 2nd after Kenya in citrus fruit production, however 20-30% of fruit is lost along the value chain, particularly during harvest, packaging and transportation. This research investigates methodologies to identify innovations that can minimize postharvest losses, particularly in the harvesting and packaging stages.

Objective 1 is to evaluate postharvest quality outcomes by comparing the local mandarin fruit harvest methods (climb, pick, drop method) to two innovative harvest methods: a harvesting ladder with a modified commercial harvesting bag and a cutting pole with attached bag. Objective 2 is to compare two locally used packaging methods, bulk stacking in a truck and bamboo crates, with stackable plastic crate on reducing postharvest loss of mandarin fruit along the value chain.

Methods and results

The harvesting methods' impacts on postharvest quality were measured in terms of field evaluations (the number of fruit drops, plugging, and harvesting time) and storage evaluations (fruit weight loss, cumulative decays, and other measures of fruit quality). Results found that the ladder and bag method reduced fruit drops, decays during storage, and increased harvest efficiency more than either of the other two methods, and the cutting pole performed the worst across metrics. Thus, the ladder and bag prove to be the best method for reducing losses during harvest.

The packaging methods' impact on postharvest losses were measured in terms of fruit decay, fruit weight loss, pulp temperature, and other fruit metrics. Plastic crates reduced fruit loss from decay by 7.9% compared to bamboo crates and 5.1% compared to bulk truck transport, however, fruit weight loss did not vary my packaging. These findings conclude that plastic containers can improve postharvest losses.

Value Chain

Postharvest practices