Management strategies to reduce postharvest losses of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) in Morogoro, Tanzania

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Sokoine university of agriculture


Lack of simple storage facilities in tomato supply chain contributes to high postharvest losses of tomato in Tanzania. In the field, harvested tomatoes are left in an open area and occasionally covered with grasses or sometimes under shade trees. Refrigerated storage structures are relatively expensive to build and operate; and most people living in rural areas cannot afford. This study was conducted to determine the effect of on farm storage technology (zero energy cool chamber) with different harvesting stages and the transportation effect on tomato postharvest losses. Comparisons were made on deterioration of physiological weight and marketability of the fruits over time between storage in zero energy cool chamber (ZECC) and ambient conditions. Tomato harvested at mature green stage and stored under ZECC conditions exhibited significantly (p = 0.00) longer shelf life. Only 5% of fruits physiological weight loss was recorded in 12 days. Under ambient conditions, shelf life of tomato fruits was between 5-8 days depending on harvesting maturity stage. The loss in marketability and physiological weight exhibited similar trend. Use of wooden crates during transportation of tomato from farm to a marketplace contributed much on on-transit losses of tomato. The losses may be attributed to constant friction between tomato surface and hardened crates. The effect of lining materials in reducing these losses was assessed. The lining materials under observation included brown paper, hessian cloth and sponged paper. Wooden crates lined with hessian cloth had the lowest loss (10.6%). A significant (p < 0.0001) number of damaged tomato fruits were found in crates with no lining. Cost benefit analysis showed that for transport of 36 wooden crates carrying 1.44 tons of tomato, the net profit when crates are lined with hessian cloth was 118 000 TZS compared to crates with no lining materials which was a loss of 12 000 TZS.



Postharvest, Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.), Postharvest loss reduction, Morogoro, Tanzania