Horticulture: Post Harvest Management

 

 

Saswati Nayak and AK Mukhopadhyay

 

India, with diverse soil and climate types comprising several agro-ecological regions, provides ample opportunity to grow a variety of crops. The aggregate cropping patterns of the country are represented by the gross cropped area allocation among different crops and commodity groups. India has experienced a considerable degree of crop diversification in term of changes in the area under various crops since the Green Revolution, which was largely oriented towards increasing food grains production to meet the objective of self-sufficiency and resolve the country’s food security problem. In the past one decade, the change in cropping pattern is more towards the horticulture sector and commercial crops (Mittal, 2007).

Horticultural crops form a significant part of total agricultural produce in the country comprising of fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops, flowers, ornamental plants, medicinal and aromatic plants, spices, condiments, plantation crops and mushrooms and have become  key drivers of economic development in many of the states in the country. They contribute 29.5 per cent to Agriculture GDP (Economic Survey 2007-08). This calls for technology-led development. Horticultural crops play a unique role in India’s economy by improving the income of the rural people. Cultivation of these crops is labour intensive and as such they generate lot of employment opportunities for the rural population.

 

Production Trends in India

Fruits and vegetables are fastest growing sectors within horticulture. India produces around 111.77 million MTs of vegetables and 57.73 million MTs of fruits (NHB), which respectively accounts for nearly 11.90% and 10.90% of country’s share in the world production of vegetables and fruits. India ranks second in world in both categories. From the year 2000 onwards one can clearly observe that production has been constantly increasing (Figure 1) for this sector and during 2000-2007 the production of vegetables is the highest followed by fruits. Fruits and vegetables combined form the major contributor to the total horticulture production. Fruits show a constant linear increase in production. A constant trend is observed in production of plantation crops, spices and flowers also (Figure 2).

 

Fig 1:  Trends of Horticulture production from the year 2000 to 2008

Source: Indian Horticulture database 2006

 

 

Fig 2: Trends of Domestic production in horticulture sector (2000-2007)

Source: Indian Horticulture database 2006

 

Of all fruit produced in the country, banana accounts for the maximum quantity (about 33%). Five fruits – mango, banana, citrus, guava and apple– alone cover about 75% of the total fruit produced in the country. Likewise in vegetables Potato occupies the highest spot followed by Brinjal.

 

 

Importance in terms of share in area

 

Fruits:         Mango (39.52%) and Banana (10.67%)

 

Vegetables: Potato (19.38%), Brinjal (7.56%), Tomato (7.36%) and Onion

(7.18%).

 

 

 

Importance in terms of share in production

 

Fruits:         Banana (32.91%) and Mango (23.54%)

 

 

Vegetables: Potato (23.70%), Brinjal (8.15%) and Tomato (7.72%)

 

 

 

India is the biggest producer of banana and mango and second largest producer of lime, in the world. India and China are world leaders in vegetable production. For brinjal, cabbage, cauliflower, onion and pumpkins China is the biggest producer followed by India. India ranks first for green peas. In spite of potato being number one amongst vegetables produced in the country, India ranks third in the world for this product. India’s rankings for these products are also presented in Table 1 and the percentage share of production in world is presented in Figure 3.

 

Fig 3: Share of India’s fruit and vegetable production in World

Source: FAO statistics database

 

 

Table 1: Ranking in production of fruits and vegetables in World

Commodities

Vegetables

India Ranks

 

Fruits

India Ranks

Brinjal

2

Apple

10

Cabbage

2

Banana

1

Cauliflower

2

Lemon

2

Onion

2

Citrous Fruits

8

Peas

1

Orange

4

Tomato

6

Grapes

16

Patato

3

Mango

1

Sweet Patato

9

Papaya

5

Lettuce

5

Pineapple

5

Pumkins/Gourda

2

 

 

Beans

6

 

 

Cassava

8

 

 

Source: FAO statistics database

 

Post Harvest Research

Since, fruits and vegetables are highly perishable, efficient Post Harvest Management has become an absolute necessity. It is also important for effective exploitation of the export potential of fruits and vegetables

Joint effort of R&D institutions, farmers, government agencies and traders has resulted in India emerging as a major producer of fruits and vegetables in the world. But the magnitude of loss in food grains is to the tune of 10% whereas for fruits and vegetables losses are estimated at 35-40% due to improper Post Harvest Management (PHM) (XI Planning Commission).  It amounts to a loss estimated at Rs 40,000 crores per year! This is not only loss of produce of crores of rupees but also wastage of labour, energy and inputs involved in production. India wastes fruits and vegetables every year equivalent to the annual consumption of the United Kingdom.

So there is need to have a strong post harvest infrastructure for post harvest management of these perishables. Post harvest technology (PHT) is inter-disciplinary "Science and Technique" applied to agricultural produce after harvest for its protection, conservation, processing, packaging, distribution, marketing, and utilization to meet the food and nutritional requirements of the people in relation to their needs. Use of appropriate PHT reduces the post harvest and storage losses; adds value to the product, generates employment in the village and re-establishes agro-industries in rural sector.

 

Research Infrastructure / Organizations involved

At National Level:

All India Coordinated Research Projects (AICRP)

    • AICRP on Betelvine,

    • AICRP on Cashew

    • AICRP on Floriculture

    • AICRP on Mushrooms

    • AICRP on Palms

    • AICRP Post Harvest Technology (with 33 centres)

    • AICRP on Potato

    • AICRP on Subtropical fruits

    • AICRP on Spices

    • AICRP on Fruits

    • AICRP on Tropical Fruits

    • AICRP on Tuber Crops

    • AICRP on Vegetable

 

 

National Research Centres

At State Level:

Regional research is primarily being undertaken by the State Agricultural Universities (SAUs). One full fledged University on horticulture in the Himalayan State of Himachal Pradesh and 25 SAUs with large number of research stations in 19 major states of the country are presently implementing applied research and generating location specific technology for various horticultural crops.

 

Post Harvest Management through Major Initiatives

Realizing the need for strong PHM initiatives, following initiatives have been undertaken:

 

Post Harvest Technologies

India is a predominantly an agricultural economy and 65-75% of its population live in villages and earn their livelihood through agriculture. For rural handling of farm inputs and outputs, Horticulture Mission seeks to develop and make available farm and village level technologies. and also emphasizing opportunities created through selective mechanization of agriculture and appropriate post harvest management and value addition to the harvested biomass in the production catchments. All the AICRP centres for PHT, CFTRI and several other organizations involved for PHM aims to develop location and crop specific post harvest technologies and equipment to minimize quantitative and qualitative post harvest losses and also to develop technologies for making available primary processed materials in the rural areas at cheaper rates and assure better economic returns to the farmers from their marketable surpluses and by-products and generate employment in the rural areas contribution to the overall economic development and improvements in quality of life. Several farm level cleaners, graders, dryers, decorticators etc were developed for farmers by various organizations and some of field level successful technologies for rural sectors were highlighted in (Table 2) and in Box 2-3.

 

Table 2: Commercialized Technologies available for Rural Sector

Name of the Technology/Equipment

Working Organizations

Threshers

TNAU

Storage structures for Onion

CIAE and PDKV

Solar Drier

CIAEl  and MPUAT

Decorticators

TNAU, CIAE, CIPHET

Ginger and Turmeric Polisher

RAU, ANGRAU

Pea Peeling and Punching

JNKVV

Extraction of Chilies’ Seed

TNAU and PDKV

Garlic Bulb Breaker

MPUAT

Cashew-nut Sheller

IIT,  Kharagpur

Mango Grader

GBPUAT

Atmosphere packaging of vegetables

CFTRI

Papain

CFTRI

Wax emulsion for fruits and vegetables

CFTRI

Zero Energy Cool Chamber

ICAR

Strawberry Clipper

CIPHET

Banana Comb Cutter

CIPHET

Pomogranate Aril Extractor

CIPHET

Tomato Grader

CIPHET

Groundnut Pod Grader

CIPHET

Pilot Plant for Kinnow Processing

CIPHET

Chili Processing Plant

CIPHET

Tomato Processing Plant

CIPHET

Fibers from banana plants for ropes

RRL,  Jorhat

PKV chili seed extractor

PDKV

 Pedal operated coconut dehusker

UAS

Cardamom dryer

UAS

Solar cabinet dryer for vegetables

CIAE

On-farm fruit grader

JAU, RS&JRS

Tender coconut punch and cutter

CPCRI

Pomegranate seed extractor

RS&JRS

Mechanical fruit washer

RS&JRS

Farm level washing machine

PAU

Trolley drier for grains and vegetables

PAU

 

Environment Control Technologies by CIPHET

  • Two Stage Evaporative Cooler
  • Low cost seed spices crop dryer
  • Mobile Cool Chamber
  • Shrink Packaging of Fruits and Vegetables
  • Evaporatively Cooled Room for Storage of Fruits & Vegetables
  • Porous Bricks
  • Evaporative Cooled Storage Structure
  • Low Cost Polyhouse for Higher Benefit: Cost Ratio

 

 

Technologies by The Defense Food Research Laboratory (DFRL)

 

  • Cold Shock Dehydration Technology
  • Accelerated Freeze Dehydration Technology
  • High Temperature Short Time (HTST) dehydration Technology
  • Fluidized Beds Drying of Cereals, Pulses and Vegetables
  • Technology of Hurdle Processing and Preservation
  • Thermal Processing of Foods in Aluminum containers
  • Extension of Shelf-Life (SL) of Fresh Fruits & Vegetables
  • Hurdle Technology Preserved Fruits
  • Additive Treatment for Dehydrated Vegetables
  • Gas absorbing blanket for storage of fruits and vegetables
  • A process technique for the preservation of Tender Coconut Water

 

Transfer of Technology

Central institute, like CFTRI, CIPHET, IIHR, selected IIT’S and IIM’s and State Agricultural University  offer  specialized post-harvest management and technology courses and  training to the farmers, traders, semiskilled workers, technicians and supervisors pertaining to their marketing problems. Major programmes serving the purpose are:

 

Value Addition

 Post-harvest value addition includes primary, secondary, and tertiary processing, operations performed on farm produce. Looking at the present agricultural production and post production scenario in India, the most appropriate action for employment generation in rural sector is primary processing and value addition in production catchments.

 

Fruits and Vegetable Processing

The Food Processing Industry sector in India is one of the largest in terms of production, consumption, export and growth prospects. The government has accorded it a high priority, with a number of fiscal reliefs and incentives, to encourage commercialization and value addition to agricultural produce, for minimizing pre/post harvest wastage, generating employment and export growth.

The sector however, has been facing the problems of erratic and inadequate supply of quality raw materials, inadequate infrastructure, inadequate investment in organized sector, fragmented research and development (R&D), lack of adequately trained human resource, lack of quality testing and certification laboratories, long chain of intermediaries contributing to high costs and inefficiencies, high costs of carrying inventories, working capital, and taxation, and overshadowing of consumption patterns by cultural practices. In India only 2% of fruits and vegetables produced are processed as against 65% in the USA, 70% in Brazil etc.

Level of processing   (Fruits & Vegetables)

USA   

65%

France

 70 %

Brazil

70%

Malaysia

 83 %

Philippines

78%

Thailand

 30 %

India

  2.1%

 Source: Cygnus Report, Indian Food Processing Sector, 2006

 

 

Most fruits and vegetables produced in India are still consumed fresh except for a very small quantity going for the manufacture of various products. The utilization of fruits and vegetables for processing is estimated to be around 2.20 percent of the total production. Over the last few years, there has been a positive growth in ready to serve beverages, fruit juices and pulps, dehydrated and frozen fruits and vegetable products, tomato products, pickles, convenience veg-spice pastes, processed mushrooms, and curried vegetables. Besides processing of major fruits for various value added products, Indian processing industries are also looking for value added products from minor or underutilized fruits (Table 3).

 

Table 3:  Major processed products which can be prepared from minor fruits

Processed Product

Fruits

Jam/Jelly

Jamun, Karonda, Aonla, Mulberry, Soursop, Tamarind, Wood apple

Candy

Aonla, Karonda, Tamarind

Glazed fruits

Tamarind, Annanas, Aonla

Confectionary

Amra, Aonla,Tamarind

Juice/Syrup/ Beverage / Squash

Aonla, Ber, Bael, Jamun, Karonda, Phalsa, Mulberry, Soursop, Wood apple

Wine

Mahua, Jujube, Ber, Indian fig, Karonda

Chutney /Sauce

Karonda, Woodapple,  Aonla , Karonda, Tamarind

Pickle

Jujube, Tamarind, Ker , Lasora, Gonda

Dehydration Frozen Puree

Aonla, Karonda, Ker, Bael, Ber, Custard apple,  Phalsa Tamarind,

Canning

Ber, Aonla, Jamun, Ker

Source: Singh et al 2008

 

Several significant technologies developed by CFTRI, DFRL, IIHR, IARI, GBPUAT and HPKV include the process of ripening of fruits, optimum harvesting time, pre-cooling of freshly harvested produce, cold storing of the raw fruits and vegetables, sorting, cleaning, waxing, packaging technology for fruits. Some of the most significant technologies for value addition by different centers are shown in Table 4.

 

Table 4: Some major commercialized Technologies in value addition

Technology

Centre

Coffee concentrate

CFTRI

Honey based beverages

CFTRI

Comminuted orange beverage

CFTRI / DFRL

Fruit Based Carbonated Beverages

CFTRI

Whole Tomato Crush

CFTRI/ CIPHET

Production of Vermouth Type Medicated Wine from Grape

CFTRI

Potato Chips at Rural Level

CFTRI

Mustard Sauce –A Delicious Product

CIPHET

Method to Prepare Dried Garlic Slices

CIPHET

Ginger Powder

CIPHET

Process Technology for making Aonla Beverage

CIPHET

Process Technology for Guava Bar

CIPHET

Process Technology for Anardana and its Powder

CIPHET

Process Technology forPomegranate Jelly and Granadine

CIPHET

Process Technology for Ber Preserves

CIPHET

Use of Amla in Confectionary

CIPHET

Debittering of Kinnow Juice

CIPHET

Upgraded tart apple juice

RRL, Jammu.

Potato products

CFTRI

Pomegranate aril extract-

RRL, Jammu.

Pickle and chutney

CFTRI / CIPHET

Osmo-air dried fruits

RRL, Jammu, CFTRI

Apple cider

RRL, Jammu

Apricot leather

RRL, Jammu

Drumstick powder

CFTRI

Fruit toffee/ Fruit Bar/Fruit squash and syrup

CFTRI / CIPHET

Ginger preserve and candy

CFTRI

Grape raisin

Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP)

Jam, jelly and marmalade

CFTRI

Maraschino cherry

RRL, Jammu.

Freeze Dried Fruit Juice Powders/ Fruit Slices

DFRL

Post harvest handling in sea-buckthorn  and apricot

DIHAR

Antioxidant rich herbal tea

DIHAR

Banana juice/ Banana powder

BARC

 

Production of juices and value-added products including jams, jellies, pickles, canned products etc. has become a commercial success and many R&D institutes, private sectors are engaged in the development of new innovative products to market and commercialize. Technology is still being imported for establishment of large scale exported-oriented units for production of items like banana paste, concentrates of various fruit juices, sorting, cleaning, washing, waxing and packaging of raw fruits and vegetables.

New products in the market

 

  • Strawberry wine
  • Apple wine
  • Plum wine

                  

By HPMC

  • Cashew apple squash
  • Cashew apple jam/jelly
  • Stone apple beverages

                  

By OUAT & IIT, Kharagpur

 

 

 

CIPHET has commercialized several rural based value-added technologies and is engaged in popularizing food processing technologies among the farmers and entrepreneurs. Several success stories also strengthen various R&D sectors regarding the new technologies developed.

Processing technologies for value addition at rural threshold by CIPHET  

  • Weight based grader for fruits 
  • Vegetable washing machine for on-farm use
  • Green chickpea shelling machine
  • Chilli seed extractor for seed growers/processors
  • Betel leaf curing chamber
  • Tamarind de-fibring, and sheeting machine 

 

 

A Case Study: Banana Fig an excellent value added product of banana

 

The process for production of ‘Banana Fig’ from ripe banana fruit was developed and standardized at National Research Centre for Banana (NRCB). The process was also popularized by imparting training to 35 potential entrepreneurs so far from different places in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.

One of the early birds among the entrepreneurs, Mr. T. Mariappan, has started commercial production of Banana Figs and is successfully marketing them in Trichy and surrounding cities, through his company “EVER GREEN FOOD PRODUCTS”. He started making and selling Banana Figs under the brand name of “BANANA GOLD”.

 

Recent Policy Initiatives

 

 

Why enter the Indian food processing sector? 

 

  • It is the seventh largest country, with extensive administrative structures and independent judiciary, a sound financial network and above all it is a stable and thriving democracy.
  • Due to its diverse agro-climatic conditions, it has a wide-ranging and large raw material base suitable for food processing industries. Presently a very small percentage of these are processed into value added products.
  • Rapid urbanization, increased literacy and rising per capita incomes, have all caused rapid growth and changes in demand patterns, leading to varied new opportunities for exploiting this large latent market. An average Indian spends about 50% of household expenditure on food items!
  • Demand for processed/convenience food is constantly on the rise.
  • India's comparatively cheaper workforce can be effectively utilized to setup large low cost production bases for domestic and export markets.
  • Liberalized overall policy regime, with specific incentives for high priority food processing sector, provides a very conducive environment for investments and exports in the sector.
  • Very good investment opportunities exist in many areas of food processing industries, the important ones being: fruit & vegetable processing; meat, fish & poultry processing; packaged, convenience food and drinks; milk products etc.

 

Source: Ministry of Food Processing Industry (MOFPI)

 

Major Indian and Overseas Players in the Fruit & Vegetable processing industry

 

EXIM Scenario

Fresh fruits and vegetables comprise almost 35% of the world trade in horticulture, out of which, almost two-third is accounted for by four items, namely, citrus, banana, apple and grape. The other important items are mangoes, papaya. Among the vegetables, which account for about 22% in the world trade in horticulture, the major items are tomato, onion, potato, bean, pea, mushroom, asparagus and capsicum.  Processed fruits and vegetables account for about 20% and 17% of the world horticultural trade, respectively. Among the processed fruits, 41% trade is of fruit juices and 12% of dried fruits (APEDA). Similarly, among processed vegetables, the major items are mushrooms, gherkins and frozen pre-cut vegetables. Five commodities namely fresh onions, mango pulp, processed gherkins, fresh grapes and fresh mangoes together account for about half of the total horticultural exports.

 

Fig 4: India Export statistics of fruits and vegetables and their value added products

Source: DGCIS

 

From last 10 years Indian export statistics clearly reveal the progressive growth of exports (to World) in the fresh as well as processed fruits and vegetables (Figure 4). Major export partners for India are highlighted in the Box below.

 

 

Major exports from India

 

Fruits:            Mango, Grapes, Orange, Apple, Banana, Other Citrus Fruits and

Lemon.

Vegetables: Onion, Potato, Tomato, Pumpkins

 

 

India’s major export partners

 

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables:       UAE, Bangladesh, Malaysia, UK, SriLanka,

Netherlands, Pakistan,

Processed Fruits &Vegetables:  USA, UAE, Bangladesh, Russia, Netherlands,

Nepal, UK, France, SriLanka, Malaysia, Kuwait,

Canada, Germany

 

 

Source: DGCIS Annual Export

 

 

Table 5: India’s comparison with other countries: Export of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables to the World

Commodities

Vegetables

India Ranks

 

Fruits

India Ranks

Brinjal

24

Apple

28

Cabbage

48

Banana

44

Cauliflower

42

Lemon

17

Onion

1

Citrous Fruits

2

Peas

17

Orange

21

Tomato

27

Grapes

17

Patato

17

Mango

2

Sweet Patato

35

Papaya

9

Lettuce

28

Pineapple

29

Pumkins/Gourda

74

 

 

Beans

24

 

 

Source: Mittal 2007

 

Future post-harvest research priorities

 

 

References:

 

 

 

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