Assessment of postharvest losses in citrus (Citrus sinensis (L) Osbeck) in the Birim North District: A Case Study Of Adventist Development And Relief Agency (Adra) Supported Citrus Farmers.

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The main objective of this study was to assess the level of postharvest losses of citrus fruits on ADRA supported farmers field in the Birim North District and at the major markets where the wholesalers operate. A survey was conducted using questionnaire on 100 ADRA supported farmers and 11 wholesalers. An in-depth study was also carried out on 6 selected farms and fruits from these selected farms were tracked to the wholesale markets to determine the extent of losses through field counts on the farm and at the wholesale market. The study revealed that 20.2% of the fruits were lost after harvest at the farm gate. Similarly at the wholesale market, losses of 5.6% were recorded. Regression analysis on the factors contributing to postharvest losses at the farm gate indicated that the total loss is influenced by method of harvesting, handling practices, length of storage period and precooling practices adopted on the field. The study showed that 48% of the farmers harvest is sold to wholesalers, 26% to processors and 15% went to retailers. Out of the fruits purchased from farmers, 82.1% of the fruits were sold to retailers by the wholesalers. The rest were lost through postharvest losses, pilfering and gifts. Weeding constituted the major management cost of farmers which contributed 57% of the tree management cost. Harvested fruits were exposed to the sun for an average period of 5 days at the farm gate, a day during transportation and an average of 3 days at the market. Generally, fruits were transported for an average distance of 197 km from the hinterland to the major markets. It was also revealed through the study that 10 major criteria are used by wholesaler for selecting marketable fruits at the farm gate. Farmers estimated their production cost per acre as GH¢ 405 with an estimated income of GH¢ 2148 whiles the value of fruits lost at the farmer level amounted to GH¢ 445. Wholesalers earned GH¢ 4602 per trip compared with their operational cost of GH¢ 520. Postharvest loss at the wholesale market was valued as GH¢605.
A Thesis Submitted to the School Of Research and Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Award of Master of Science (Msc. Postharvest Technology) Degree, June-2012