A survey on postharvest handling, preservation and processing methods of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) in the Dormaa and Tano South Districts of the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana.

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The tomato industry serves as a source of income of many households in the study area. Tomato production and marketing are complex and require expertise in the various stages handling along the distribution chain such. The objective of the study was to assess postharvest handling, preservation and processing of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) in the Dormaa and Tano South Districts of the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. Data were obtained through interviews with staff of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), farmers, traders and consumers, using semi-structured questionnaire, as well as field visits. It was observed that tomato production is one of the major sources of livelihood for the people of the two districts. The results of the study however revealed that farmers have still not achieved their maximum potential due to high postharvest losses. Traders also encountered high postharvest losses after purchasing from the farm gate. Lack of diversified uses of tomatoes is one main source of postharvest losses. This is because, consumers would not buy more if they have enough in storage. Traders on the other hand would not purchase from farmers since they may still have a lot in storage which may not have been bought and sometimes deteriorating. Thus, farmers encounter losses due to two main reasons; lack of technical knowledge and storage facilities to preserve the produce and lack of factories within the production area to process the surplus tomatoes. Other problems include bad access roads linking farms and market centres, which has limited the production capacities of 90% of farmers in these communities. It was therefore recommended that research should be conducted into cheap but appropriate postharvest handling and preservation methods of tomatoes and the introduction of appropriate methods for reducing mechanical injury to tomatoes during harvest and transport. It was also recommended that inexpensive but efficient small scale tomato processing methods should be introduced in the tomato producing areas to reduce waste.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of a Master of Science degree in Postharvest Technology