Market demand for organic fruits and vegetables has increased steadily in recent years; and this ought to present an opportunity for exporters in developing countries who in many cases practise low-input agriculture. However, there are significant hurdles to overcome in order to benefit from this opportunity. First, most importing countries require organic produce to be certified; and the process of certification or registration can be expensive and lengthy. Secondly, international trade in fresh fruit and vegetables depends on the exporters ability to deliver reliable quantities of high quality produce to distant markets, in accordance with stringent phytosanitary regulations, and these can be difficult requirements for small-to-medium sized enterprises. Processed fruit and vegetables are less perishable which is a distinct advantage for exporters in developing countries; but only a certain number of additives and preservatives are permitted under organic legislation, so price premiums may have to cover higher storage losses.
This report presents information about the post-harvest management, storage and transportation of organic fruit and vegetables, both in the fresh state and after processing. Some perspectives are offered on the international market opportunity. Some of the regulations governing processing, labelling and trade are cited. Specific suggestions on where to find further information are also made.