THE MANAGEMENT OF POST-HARVEST LOSSES OF TOMATO IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Reducing post-harvest losses of fresh produce has been demonstrated to be an important part of sustainable agricultural development efforts meant to increase food availability. Failure to achieve food security in most developing countries can be attributed to over-reliance on production related activities and the lack of adequate training of farmers on post-harvest handling practices, slow or no development of appropriate post-harvest infrastructure or neglect of other aspects of the post-harvest chain during transportation and marketing. Reducing food losses offers an important pathway of availing food, alleviating poverty, and improving nutrition. Moreover, reducing post-harvest losses has positive impacts on the environment and climate as it enhances farm-level productivity and reduces the utilisation of production resources or expansion into fragile ecosystems to produce food that will be lost and not consumed. Tomato is a major vegetable crop that has achieved tremendous popularity over the last century. It is grown in practically every country of the world in outdoor fields, greenhouses and net houses. Global post-harvest losses of tomato are as high as 30-50%, but this can be much higher in developing countries due to improper handling procedures and lack of appropriate methods to prevent decay.