IMPROVED POST-HARVEST FACILITIES BY VEGETABLE FARMERS

AWARENESS AND KNOWLEDGE OF IMPROVED POST-HARVEST STORAGE AND PACKAGING FACILITIES BY VEGETABLE FARMERS IN OGUN STATE

Vegetable is any part of a plant that is consumed by humans as food as/as part of a meal. Vegetables are rich and comparatively cheaper source of antioxidant vitamins A, C and E.

Vegetables play a vital role on food front as they are cheapest sources of natural foods and can admirably supplement the main cereals of most countries.

Since cultivation of vegetable crops involves intensive cultural operations starting from sowing to marketing, it provides more and regular employment opportunities in rural areas.

An estimate of about 10 to 40% of the vegetables have been reported to have been lost to damage, rotting, pests, and the consumers’ demand for “perfect’’ produce.

Generally, fresh produce losses are often higher than processed food; these losses are often higher in warmer and more humid climates. Long transport distance also makes it more challenging to maintain an adequate cool chain.

Minimizing wastage requires a focus on quality throughout the supply chain, as many post-harvest losses are a direct result of production management.

Vegetables are living, breathing parts of plants and contain 65% – 95% water, once harvested, their internal food and water reserves decline overtime and vegetables deteriorate and rot.

Acceleration of deterioration can be due to high temperature, low humidity, incorrect atmosphere and or physical damage.

This study therefore wants to test this assertion.

What are the socio-economic characteristics of the vegetable farmers?

What are the types of vegetables cultivated by the farmers?

What facilities are currently used by the farmers to tackle post-harvest losses?

Are farmers aware of improved technology for tackling post-harvest losses?

What is the knowledge of awareness of improved post-harvest technology?

The main objective is to ascertain the level of awareness of farmers about improved post-harvest technology and packaging.

H01: There is no significant relationship between socio-economic characteristics of vegetable farmers and knowledge of awareness of improved post-harvest technology.

Cultivation of vegetables in Nigeria is very high, yet most are lost to post-harvest wastage. This constitutes a hefty reduction in farmers’ income, hence, the need for improved post-harvest facilities.

This is important at a time when traditional methods of post-harvest handling are insufficient leading to inflation in price of vegetables. The list of importance of improved post-harvest facilities is endless.

Therefore, the bulk of the works lies in extension agents’ ability to make sure farmers become aware of these facilities. Post-harvest is about maintaining quality from harvest in the field to the point the vegetables being placed on the table for consumption.

Maintaining vegetable quality requires good systems and communication throughout the supply chain as each step is influenced by the previous; it is a chain of interdependent activities.

Post-harvest activities include cooling, curling, handling, storage, processing, packaging, transport and the market phase.

Considering acute energy and lack of cool storage facility, efforts were made to develop low cost/low energy cool chambers.

These are structures that work on principle of evaporative cooling. They include pot-in-pot or Zeer, brick-in-brick and tin-in-pot.

These structures are efficient, can be built with locally available materials and capable of extending shelf life of produce for another 20 days.

A research conducted in Odeda local government of Ogun State, using a multistage sampling technique.

Sample size was fifty vegetable farmers registered with the Ogun State Agricultural Development Programme (OGADEP).

The selected wards were Osiele, Camp, Isolu, Kofesu and Alabata with 10 farmers chosen purposively from each ward.

The respondents were asked the type of vegetable produced and if they were aware of improved storage and packaging facilities used for vegetables during post harvest period.

This was measured at ordinal level with indicator such as Aware=2 not aware = 1.

It was revealed that most of the sampled vegetable farmers cultivated Tete as reported by 86% of them, 84% cultivated soko, 76% cultivated Ugwu, 68% cultivated Tomato, 64% cultivated jute mallow, 60% cultivated water leaf and 2% cultivated cucumber.

However, majority (90%) used sacks in packaging their vegetables while 98% reported they use ordinary woven/wicker baskets.

As evident, the research shows the awareness of vegetable farmers about the selected improved post harvest facilities.

The vegetable farmers were not aware of most improved facilities such as pot-in-pot (100%), Brick-in-Brick (100%), Block-in-Block (100%), Pot-in-Block (100%), Tin-in-Pot (100%), Reusable plastic crates (100%), wooden boxes (100%).

However, 12% of the respondents reported they have seen or heard about the wooden crates but were not using it for any of their activities.

This is in line with Aromiwura (2016), who reported low awareness of these facilities among farmers but reported that the marketers of tomatoes have heard or seen the facilities but have not used it.

The hypothesis for this study was stated in null form

H01: There is no significant relationship between socio-economic characteristics of vegetable farmers and knowledge of awareness of improved post-harvest technology.

Based on the findings of this study, the study hereby recommends the following;

1. There should be a nationwide awareness about improved post harvest technologies.

2. Improved post harvest technologies should be made available to rural farmers.

3. Enlightenment and sensitization on the importance of improved post harvest technologies.

 

Timothy

MyfarmBase

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

NEWSLETTER SIGN-UP

Kindly sign-up to keep up with our progress