The role of gender in maintaining quality and reducing postharvest losses: the case of 'Bungulan' (Musa genome AAA) bananas for export

M.V. Maunahan, P.A. Nuevo, J.M. Resorez
'Bungulan' banana has found an export niche in Japan and is now gaining economic importance as means of income for smallholder farmers in the Philippines. However, huge postharvest losses due to mechanical damage are incurred along the value chain because of poor infrastructure and lack of awareness about proper handling. A case study was conducted to determine the role of gender, particularly the participation of men and women in maintaining quality and reducing losses of bananas during harvesting and other postharvest operations in selected production areas in Mindanao. Men were observed to perform heavy tasks and were involved in all activities from planting, fertilization, water management, crop protection, fruit care, deleafing, round weeding, harvesting, dehanding, hauling, loading and transport. Women performed deleafing and round weeding, and either assumed the responsibility of or assisted their husbands in planting, fertilizer application, watering plants and crop protection. Activities at the packing center such as quality inspection, sorting, trimming, cleaning, weighing and recording the number of acceptable bananas were done by women. Male workers, on the other hand, unloaded fruit, packed, and stacked and loaded the carton boxes for transport. The gender division of labor along the value chain shows that women generally take charge of evaluating quality of export of 'Bungulan' while men facilitate the product movement. Both adult men and women have distinct and shared roles in ensuring export quality and minimizing losses until bananas reach the market. Thus, women need to have equal access to training and refresher courses, and the latest information materials for them to be better equipped in performing their functions and responsibilities.
Maunahan, M.V., Nuevo, P.A. and Resorez, J.M. (2018). The role of gender in maintaining quality and reducing postharvest losses: the case of 'Bungulan' (Musa genome AAA) bananas for export. Acta Hortic. 1210, 21-28
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1210.3
postharvest, value chain, 'Bungulan', banana, loss reduction, gender, gender relations

Acta Horticulturae