Minimizing losses in the postharvest handling of export 'Bungulan' (Musa genome AAA) banana grown by small farmers in the Philippines
In the Philippines, 'Bungulan' banana is an important source of income for smallholder farmers in the mountainous areas, and is now gaining economic importance next to the export 'Cavendish' and other popular cultivars such as 'Saba', 'Lakatan' and 'Latundan'. It has become an alternative source of livelihood for many displaced sugarcane workers, and has eventually found an export niche in Japan. There is an opportunity to ensure and sustain the marketable supply, and increase farmers' income by reducing postharvest losses from the farm to the packing center. A study was conducted to document the postharvest practices, determine the causes and extent of losses, and evaluate technical improvements. Postharvest handling operations were documented in four major production areas in Visayas and Mindanao, and packing center rejection was assessed. The critical points in the postharvest handling chain included hauling, dehanding, packaging and transport. Packing center rejects ranged from 13 to 26% depending on the area and postharvest operations. Compared to banana leaves, polyethylene (PE) foam provided better cushioning protection during hauling of dehanded fruit to the buying station and packing center in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato where the highest losses due to mechanical damage were recorded. Individual wrapping of banana hands with PE liners during bulk transport to the packing center also resulted in less bruises and cuts. The use of lining and cushioning materials during hauling and bulk transport can minimize losses and increase the supply of export-quality fruits.
Nuevo, P.A., Maunahan, M.V. and Resorez, J.M. (2018). Minimizing losses in the postharvest handling of export 'Bungulan' (Musa genome AAA) banana grown by small farmers in the Philippines. Acta Hortic. 1210, 13-20
postharvest loss reduction, handling chain, 'Bungulan', banana, mechanical damage, packaging