Postharvest activities include managing, storing and transporting agricultural products after they are harvested from the fields. Sometimes postharvest handling includes drying and fermenting methods too, depending on the crops. Mostly, the best postharvest practices are devised to support local growers all around the world. Improved postharvest handling methods increase the chances of delivering fresh food to the growing world population. The process also helps to reduce the area of production and the space needed to conserve natural resources. Here are some of the finest strategies for the prevention and preservation of loss of crops:
- Using post-harvest prototypes with longer life cycles
- Employing integrated crop-management systems
- Incorporating good agricultural practices to uphold the quality of the commodity
- Enforcing proper and proven postharvest handling methods
Superior postharvest practices ensure improved food processing and supply to sustain the world population. It is a great way to plan sustainable management of the limited resources for future consumption. Local growers and handlers focus on preserving the quality and safety of the crops throughout the process.
The crops that are harvested from the fields undergo post-harvest activities to ensure that they are edible and the nutrients are intact until it reaches the market. Customers can take advantage of farm-fresh crops owing to postharvest practices. Postharvest activities when performed correctly hold the ability to end world hunger and food safety issues.
It is a process that helps to maintain the quality of the farm produce right from the time of harvest until it reaches the customers. Postharvest cooling slows down the decaying of the crops and helps to hold the nutrients intact. There are two effective types of postharvest cooling methods including hydrocooling and vacuum cooling. These are effective postharvest handling methods that not only help to maintain the quality of the crops but are also applicable to a wide range of crops.
Importance of Postharvest Handling
There are several benefits of investing in postharvest practices for better crop safety, health and longevity. Here are some of the engaging reasons that depict the importance of postharvest handling:
- Farm-Fresh Appearance – Some of the factors of appearance of the produce include the intact physical shape and size, original colour and defect-free condition. Apart from external factors, decay from postharvest methods can be pathological, physiological, morphological or physical. However, postharvest practices ensure the safety of these crops from all kinds of damage from external factors and keep the appearance intact.
- Superior Texture – The elements of texture in farm-fresh crops include juiciness, firmness and crispness. These factors are not only important for edible purposes but also for reasons of logistics. Postharvest practices ensure the safety of the crops and their texture too. There are crops that undergo significant physical injuries during the shipping process. Postharvest activities help in preventing such damage.
- Flavour-Lock – Some of the factors that contribute to the flavour of the crops include sweetness, bitterness, aroma and sourness. Large-scale tasting of a particular crop is essential to determine the acceptability of the crop’s flavour and the consumer’s preference for them. Postharvest activities help to keep the flavours of the crops intact for a long span of time and reach customers in the best form.
- Nutritional Values – Fresh vegetables and fruits play an integral role in the regular nutrition required by the human body. Some of these nutrients include Vitamin A, C, B, niacin, thiamine, dietary fibre and minerals. There are innumerable crops that lower the risk of life-threatening diseases like cancer. Nutrients help in fighting bad elements like phytosterols, isoflavones, phytochemicals, flavonoids and more. Postharvest practices help to keep the nutrients locked within the crops during the lengthy process of farm to consumer’s plate.
- Social & Economic Relief – Postharvest activities can resolve major social and economic issues. Preserving crops from mould, contamination and post-harvest damages ensure food safety. This helps in empowering local growers and alleviating poverty within small communities. Since postharvest methods prevent the loss of crops in yielding, the chances to sell more crops and make a considerable profit are larger.
- Reliability & Efficiency – There is a wide range of postharvest coolers that ensure steady, superior and quick cooling of crops. These coolers are not only environmentally friendly but also save power, which equals cost-saving as well. The coolers can significantly increase the shelf-life of the crops during the postharvest process. However, it is essential to learn the best postharvest technique based on the crops to be used.
Once you are aware of the importance of postharvest handling for crops, it is easier for you to manage the loss of crops due to varied reasons. However, different postharvest methods are applicable for different ranges of crops. The safety, quality and longevity of these crops are what matter the most and postharvest practices are a great way to ensure the same. When practised judiciously, postharvest handling can work wonders to improve the nutritional health of the world at large in a simple and cost-effective way.
Quik-Cool is Australia’s leading postharvest cooling solutions manufacturer. We design vacuum coolers and hydro-coolers to suit local growers needs in the Australian subcontinent. Contact us for an OBLIGATION-FREE quotation based on your requirements.