Sri lankn farmers are poor performers when it comes to post-harvest loss of fresh fruits and vegetables.About 40 to 50 percent of the harvest could be lost due to packaging issues.
The use of plastic crates and cushioning material to pack perishable commodities have been advocated for some time but still there are issues of adaptation.
Dr.Shanthi Wilson, a post-harvest specialist, said researchers at Industrial Technology Institute (ITI), ITI are developing eco-friendly, bio degradable cushioning material by processing agricultural waste material from banana plantations.
Nano technology is been used to develop an edible bio wax for extending storage and the shelf life of fruits such as mango and papaya.
Tools for harvesting mangoes, rambutan and papaya and the use of maturity indices for mango, banana, pineapple, tomato, green chilli, passion fruit and papaya among the other measures to reduce post harvest loss..
Pre-harvest treatment to induce uniform flowering in fruit crops such as pineapple, and mango and facilitation of harvest operations by enabling uniform development of the crop and spray treatments that delay maturity and extend the harvest season of the crop,” is another step that could be taken to make the best of the harvest.
“Maturity indices indicate the stage of development of the fruit or vegetable (egg, ripeness, colour and size) and enable the farmer to harvest the fruit at the most advantageous time for selling his produce at the best price.”said Dr Wilsion..
It is reported that many harmful substance are been used to ripen fruit and vegetable. Although not permitted carbide is used to ripen fruit widely.it carries impurities such as arsenic and phosphine.
Dipping and spraying of fruits with chemical ripening agents is another practice that is harmful to human health.
Dr. Wilson pointed out that ethylene absorbents could be used to prevent premature ripening and that the technology to use the natural ripening agent ethylene which is liberated by plants during ripening and senescence should be promoted as a safe way to induce ripening.
Nanotechnology (“nanotech”) is manipulation of matter on an atomic, molecular, and supramolecular scale.