POST HARVEST HANDLING OF ALPHONSO MANGOES IN MAHARASHTRA, INDIA
Injured, Immature and over-mature fruits are received and such fruits creates numerous problems during handling. The produce is seldom graded in the orchards but wholesalers or pre-harvest contractors grade the fruits according to size and variety before sending to consumers' centres. The most popular containers used for packing mangoes are wooden boxes and bamboo baskets whereas crates, CFB boxes are used occasionally in some places. Padding material in packing of mango fruits varies from grass, paddy or wheat straw, paper cutting, mango leaves but paddy straw is most commonly used. Now a days corrugated fibre cardboard boxes are used for export quality fruits. The ripening of fruits takes place during transport or in packing when they are sent to distant markets. Usually fruits are ripen in a closed; well ventilated store house. Mango fruits are mainly transported by road, rail, and small quantity by air. Traders suggested that mango fruits should be handled carefully to avoid injury, mango fruits should be harvested at proper maturity stage, fruits should be harvested with 2 to 3 cm stalk, mango fruits of different maturity stages should not be mixed, for marketing, fully mature; unripe fruits should not be sent to market. The fruits after harvest pass through several agencies before reaching the consumer.