The stage of crop production immediately following harvest, including cooling, cleaning, sorting and packing may be termed as Post Harvest Handling. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables including root crops are mostly perishable in nature. They begin to deteriorate immediately after its separation from the parent plant and suffer considerable losses during the process of Marketing. These losses may be of following nature:-
- Quality downgrading due to handling
- Physiological spoilage (rooting & sprouting)
- Pathological Spoilage from pest and diseases
- Oversupply to markets
Main Reason of Post Harvest Losses:-
- Inadequate or Inappropriate application of proper Post Harvest Practices.
- Improper production planning.
On the Other hand, Value Addition in Horticulture is the process in which a high price is realized for the same volume of a primary product, by means of processing, packing, upgrading the quality or other such methods. For example: Making Jam of Pomegranate and Strawberry.
Need for value addition in Horticulture:-
- To improve the profitability of farmers.
- To empower the farmers and other weaker sections of society especially women through gainful employment opportunities and revitalize rural communities.
- To provide better quality, safe and branded foods to the consumers.
- To emphasize primary and secondary processing.
- To reduce post harvest losses.
- Reduction of import and meeting export demands.
- Way of increased foreign exchange.
- Encourage growth of subsidiary industries.
- Reduce the economic risk of marketing.
- Increase opportunities for smaller farms and companies through the development of markets.
- Diversify the economic base of rural communities.
- Overall, increase farmers’ financial stability.
Importance of Value Addition in Horticulture:-
- Horticulture deals a large group of crops having great medicinal, nutritional, health promoting values.
- India as second largest producer of fruits and vegetables, only 10 per cent of that horticultural produce is processed, but other developed and developing countries where 40-80 per cent produce is value added.
- Horticultural crops provide varied type of components, which can be effectively and gainfully utilized for value addition like pigment, amino acids, oleoresins, antioxidants, flavors, aroma etc.
- Post harvest losses in horticultural produce are 5 to 30 per cent which amounts to more than 8000 crore rupees per annum. If we subject our produce to value addition the losses can be checked.
- Horticultural crops are right material for value addition because they are more profitable, has high degree of process ability and richness in health promoting compounds and higher potential for export.
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