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The increase in the production of fruit and vegetables in many countries of Latin America and the Caribbean has often not been accompanied by better post-harvest management and by appropriate modernization of the processing techniques to improve the living conditions of the rural populations.

Over the past few years, FAO has concentrated its efforts on the development and transfer of technology for the small-scale processing of fruits and vegetables by means of home-made methods, for the purpose of fostering the creation of small rural agroindustrial enterprises.

The development of small rural agroindustrial firms through the introduction of small-scale processing, with special emphasis on women and youth groups, is extremely important in most Latin American countries. The introduction of small agroindustrial enterprises, among other things, provides raw material with an added value, generates employment and improves the nutritional level and food security of rural populations.

This manual has been elaborated from a very practical point of view, to be used as a guide for the activities that FAO carries out in Latin America and the Caribbean, in this important area of rural development. It presents the direct experience acquired by the authors in countries belonging to this Region, like Barbados, Chile, Guyana, Jamaica and Peru, and in African nations like Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger and Senegal, in which FAO has implemented such activities with the financial support of the Technical Cooperation Programme and/or funds from the Organization's Regular Programme.

This is the English version of the Technical Manual printed in Spanish in 1993.

Gustavo Gordillo de Anda

Assistant Director-General

Regional Representantive for Latin America

and the Caribbean

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