Postharvest science and technology: enabling nutritional security and economic well-being

J.A. Heyes
Fruit and vegetables are extremely important for their potential contribution to human 'nutritional security' and economic well-being. Nutritional security recognises that food security is not just about providing sufficient calories to keep people alive, but ensuring the food they consume is adequate for a healthy life. Yet much of this contribution is prevented by the extreme perishability of some of these products and poor infrastructure in many countries. In New Zealand, without exception, only products that can be safely stored for at least 4-6 weeks and still retain sufficient shelf-life to last a further five days at ambient conditions are exported by sea to higher-value markets in Asia, Europe or the Americas. Exports from industries based around these products have grown to over $50M per annum (kiwifruit, apples, onions, squash, avocadoes), whereas industries with more perishable products have to rely on airfreight and find their industry struggling to grow over $40M per annum. Rigorous attention to harvest maturity, product grading and tailored packaging and storage systems characterise high-value trade. Lessons learned from experiences with New Zealand industries are now being applied to support health and economic wellbeing of producers and consumers in newly-industrialising or developing countries, such as Indonesia or Vanuatu, to improve nutritional security and enable exports that can transform rural livelihoods.
Heyes, J.A. (2016). Postharvest science and technology: enabling nutritional security and economic well-being. Acta Hortic. 1120, 23-28
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1120.3
export, fruit, quality, vegetables

Acta Horticulturae