and vegetables are important sources of vitamins and minerals for human beings
that can be had naturally. Under Sri Lankan contest Tomato, Banana and Papaya are
very famous perishables grown in the country. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is
a nutritive, versatile and perishable fruit and importance is; it is a good
source of vitamin C, A and certain minerals such as Fe and Cu (Siemers, 1971).
It has a high demand both in local and foreign markets. Local market price is
around Rs.120.00 per one kilogram and in last decades, the total foreign
exchange earnings from fresh tomato were 1.34million rupees (Sri Lanka Custom
Returns 1991). Tomato is preferred by farmers due to high economic returns,
export potential and nutritional value. Tomato is cultivated in more than
7137ha producing nearly 73917mt/year in Sri Lanka. However, the average
productivity of tomato 10.36mt/ha in Sri Lanka, is contrasting lower than
global average of 24mt/ha (Sri Lanka Custom Returns 1991).
Lanka, about 50,000 ha of land area are under banana cultivation and the annual
production is about 450,000 (Wasala et al., 2012). One of the reasons for its
attractiveness for Sri Lankan farmers is its high economic gains throughout the
year (Hirimburegama et al., 2004). Banana is a climacteric perishable fruit and
therefore, its postharvest losses are relatively high and occur mainly during
handling and transportation in the supply chain. Although bananas are harvested
at the mature green stage, the external appearance of the ripened bananas at
the retail shops is extremely poor due to excessive mechanical damages due to
improper handling in the supply chain (Sarananada, 2000). With all these
factors, the postharvest losses of banana in Sri Lanka accounts for about 30%.
According to Ekanayake and Bandara (2002), this loss is mainly due to the lack
of appropriate packaging methods to transport from farm gate to the consumer.
At present the extent of papaya cultivation is 3123
ha, and this extent is more than the forecasted extent in the year 2005. Papaya
has a good demand for local as well as export. Rs. 0.25million worth of papaya
(2184mt) has been exported to Germany, Bangladesh, Bahrain and Maldives in 1999
(Table 2). The amount imported from Thailand and Singapore to the country is
more than amount exported and this shows that local demand is high, mostly this
may be again for hotel industry (Table 3). The fruit is used as fresh fruit as
well as for other processed products such as RTS and pickles etc. Papaya has
high content of carotene (Table 4) and other vitamins.There is no marked price
fluctuation in wholesale and retail prices except during April to June. A
considerable quantity of production is lost in the postharvest phase. The
highest percentage of postharvest loss is found in papaya (46%) compared to
banana and pineapple.
Postharvest losses (PHL) refer to the losses that occur
along the food supply chain, from the farm gate through till it gets on the
table of the final consumer. Losses are encountered along the chain in the
handling, storage, transportation and processing, thereby resulting in a
reduction in the quantity, quality and market value of agricultural commodities
(Aramyan and Goush,
2014; Parfitt et.al, 2010). Within developing countries’ context concerns
about reduction of quantitative losses (i.e., weight, volume or total wastage
of agricultural produce) are of higher priority than qualitative losses such as
loss in edibility, nutritional quality, caloric value and consumer
acceptability of the produce. It is also known that, in general, qualitative
losses are much more difficult to assess than quantitative losses.
post-harvest loss of tomato is ranged in between 25-45% both globally
(Bourne,1986; Zaldivar, 1991) and locally (Felix and Mahendran, 2009).And also,
most of the studies have been done considering only one supply chain for
assessing the post-harvest loss of tomato (Felix and Mahendran, 2009). Therefore, it is important to assess how
post-harvest losses of tomato occur at different supply chains in the country.
Main objective of this study is to estimate the post-harvest losses of tomato
in various supply chains of Sri Lanka and find the reasons for the large loss