Quantifying the magnitude of postharvest fruit losses: a case study of industry packhouse data in the Western Cape, South Africa
This paper investigates the current situation of postharvest losses at the primary production level for pears and grapes by reviewing data received from farms in the Western Cape, South Africa. An estimated 10-30% of fruit are lost at the primary production level globally, but these estimates are not based on measurements. Only a few articles provide measured losses at the primary production level. The more delicate a fruit is, the higher the losses at the farm level will be, and this can be seen by pears having production level losses of 0.59±0.38% while grapes have mean production level losses of 13.55±4.01%. The amount of missing fruit (classified as variance in farm records) is also worrisome as this is an indication that either the method for measuring harvested fruit is faulty or that staff carry away or eat around 3.20±1.68 and 3.40±1.68% of the harvested pears and grapes, respectively. While the concept of shrinkage is well known and researched in the retail industry with an average of 1.62% loss of inventory per year across all industries, little is known, and nothing is published about shrinkage in fruit packhouses. Since the magnitude of missing fruit on the farm level is higher than that reported for other sectors in the global retail industry, further research could investigate minimising these losses as well as quantifying primary production site losses, as it could make a marked difference to the income of farms.
Blanckenberg, A., Opara, U.L. and Fawole, O.A. (2022). Quantifying the magnitude of postharvest fruit losses: a case study of industry packhouse data in the Western Cape, South Africa. Acta Hortic. 1349, 243-250
postharvest losses, food waste, pear, table grape