Appendix

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Basic Advice for Handling and Marketing of Fresh Produce Commodities Regularly Grown and Traded in the Eastern Caribbean.

 

COMMON NAME: AVOCADO

Latin Name: (Persea americana)

Principal Varieties: Pollock, Lula, large range of local types

HARVEST

Maturity: Depending on variety, a combination of size, smoothness of the skin and loss of sheen indicates maturity.

Method: Harvest carefully as even small cuts, scratches and abrasions can spoil appearance and lead to decay. Harvest with the stalk attached, preferably by hand and place in bag or pouch worn on the body for lowering to the ground at intervals. Where fruit cannot be reached by climbing, picking poles with attached pouches (preferably with cutter bars) should be used.

Field Assembly: Place in field crates or baskets in a shaded area of the field. Exposure to the sun will raise temperature of the fruit causing earlier ripening and shorter shelf life.

POST-HARVEST

Treatment: Trim stalks to 1.0 - 1.5 cm in length to reduce the risk of injury among fruit after ripening. If the stalk is removed at the mature green stage it predisposes the fruit to stem end rot.

Selection/Grade: Remove soil or field debris with clean soft cloth. Hake sure fruit is dry. Select out damaged, malformed, immature and scarred (e.g. fruit with growth cracks and healed abrasion injuries) fruit. Grade according to size.

Packaging: Place large fruit in single layers in strong cardboard cartons with separators. Smeller fruit should be placed in cardboard cartons with or without separators in two or three layers as indicated. Lined wooden crates may also be used.

Ambient Storage Life: Host varieties ripen in 2 to 4 days after harvest and ripe fruit has a shelf life of 1 to 2 days.

 

COMMON NAME: MANGO

Latin Name: (Mangifera indica)

Principal Varieties: Julie, Graham, PaLouis, Long, Ceylon, Imperial

HARVEST

Maturity: Harvest at mature green stage. Maturity indicators ray be variety specific. Size, fullness of cheeks, colour and sheen are useful indicators.

Method: Harvest by hand or with a picking pole and attached pouch. Mechanical in jury should be avoided at all cost, especially impact injury from fruit falling or being thrown about. Injury also hastens ripening and shortens storage live. Punctures and bruises, even small ones, may lead to severe losses from rotting.

Field Assembly: Place in field crates or baskets in a sheltered area of the field. For specific markets and when the quality of the harvested fruit is very good, infield selection and packing for shipment can be done. Ensure that such mangoes are mature with a well developed abscission layer and no leaking sap. They should be of marketable size and free from blemishes. For field packing, mangoes should be wiped free of soil and other debris with a clean soft cloth.

POST-HARVEST

Treatment: Wash mangoes if contaminated with sap and if a fungicide treatment is used.

Selection/Grade: Select out all immature, ripening, damaged, scarred or otherwise blemished fruit. Grade according to size.

Packaging: Pack mangoes in cardboard boxes or lined wooden crates for shipment.

Ambient Storage Life: Mangoes ripen within four (4) days after harvest at the mature green stage. The ripe fruit has a shelf life of 2 to 4 days.

 

COMMON NAME: MAMMEY APPLE

Latin Name: (Mammea americana)

Principal Varieties: A range of local types exist

HARVEST

Maturity: Harvest when mature, but unripe as indicated by size and general appearance.

Method: By hand or by picking pole as with other tree fruits.

Field Assembly: Pack fruit in field crates or baskets in a shaded area of the field.

POST-HARVEST

Treatment: Trim fruit stalks to 1-2 cm. No specific post-harvest treatment is necessary if fruit is harvested carefully.

Selection/Grade: Remove malformed and damaged fruit. Grade fruit by size.

Packaging: Small wooden crates or fibreboard cartons.

Ambient Storage Life: Marked for immediate consumption.

 

COMMON NAME: BREADFRUIT

Latin Name: (Artocarpus altilis)

Principal Varieties: A range of local types exist

HARVEST

Maturity: Harvest at mature green stage using indicators of size, colour surface texture (stretching of segments).

Method: Harvest manually as far as possible. Use picking poles with cutting bars for inaccessible fruit. Harvest with stalk intact. Avoid impact injury by lowering fruit gently or by dropping into a catching net. Injury reduced the quality of the fruit and causes early ripening.

Field Assembly: Place breadfruit in field crates or bags or baskets in shaded area of field

POST-HARVEST

Treatment: Trim stalks and wash off excess latex. Package and ship breadfruit as soon as possible (hours) after harvest to allow maximum time for marketing. If shipment is delayed, place harvested fruit under cool conditions (but above 13C to avoid chilling injury) if available. Otherwise submerge in clean water, outdoors in well ventilated sheltered area.

Selection/Grade: Select out immature postmature, scarred and damaged fruit. Grade according to size.

Packaging: Package breadfruit 2 to 3 layers thick according to size, in wooden crates or strong cardboard boxes.

Ambient Storage Life: The storage life of breadfruit harvested at the green mature stage varies from 2 to 4 days.

 

COMMON NAME: GOLDEN APPLE

Latin Name: (Spondias cytherea)

Principal Varieties: A range of local types exist

HARVEST

Maturity: Harvest at mature green or turning stage depending on intended market.

Method: Harvest by hand or use picking pole with pouch attached. Fruit have a tendency to crack on impact resulting in loss of quality, uneven ripening and post-harvest rotting.

Field Assembly: Place fruit in field crates or baskets in shaded area of field.

POST-HARVEST

Treatment: Wash off excess latex to prevent stickiness for handling. Drain and air dry thoroughly in well ventilated shaded area. Select out damaged, rotting, malformed, scarred and ripe fruit. Grade according to size and according to market - immature and mature green for unripe consumption and use, and mature green and turning for ripe consumption and use.

Selection/Grade:

Packaging: Package fruit in wood crates or cardboard boxes.

Ambient Storage Life: Mature green fruit ripen or show signs of ripening in about 4 days. Ripe fruit have a shelf life of 2 to 4 days.

 

COMMON NAME: SAPODILLA

Latin Name: (Achras sapote)

Principal Varieties: Various local types exist

HARVEST

Maturity: Harvest at mature green stage. Harvest by size and general appearance especially with respect to external skin texture.

Method: By hand or using picking pole with bag or pouch attached. Bag should be place over fruit clusters and fruit detached with a shaking twisting action. Mature fruit become detached more readily than immature ones. Fruit crack very readily on impact and should be handled very carefully.

Field Assembly: Place fruit with head-end down to drain sap for several minutes. Fruit should be placed in shaded area in the field. Pack fruit in field crates for removal from the field.

POST-HARVEST

Treatment: Clean fruit only if the market demands it. Use clean abrasive material e.g. coconut husks for cleaning fruit.

Selection/Grade: Select out damaged, malformed, latex stained soft and soft fruit. Grade according to size.

Packaging: Pack in wooden crates for shipment.

Ambient Storage Life: Generally, mature green sapodilla ripen in 2-7 days. The shelf life of ripe sapodilla is 1-2 days.

 

COMMON NAME: SOURSOP

Latin Name: (Annona muricata)

Principal Varieties: A range of local types exist

HARVEST

Maturity: Harvest at mature green stage indicated when fruit turn lighter green colour and smooth wide spaces have developed between surface spines, especially at the head end.

Method: Harvest extremely carefully. Harvest manually and lower to the ground in small amounts in a pouch or bag. Inacessible fruit should be picked by a pole with an attached pouch.

Field Assembly: Pack in field crates or baskets in a shaded area in the field. Soursop can be field packed directly into cardboard boxes or wooden crates for shipment.

POST-HARVEST

Treatment: If fruit are harvested carefully and at the correct stage, no specific post-harvest treatment is necessary.

Selection/Grade: Discard all fruit that are damaged, malformed, have severe abrasion scars and have mealy bugs. Grade fruit according to size.

Packaging: Package fruit in wooden crates or cardboard boxes for shipment.

Ambient Storage Life: Mature green fruit ripen in 2 to 4 days. The shelf life of ripe soursop is 2 to 4 days.

 

COMMON NAME: TAMARIND

Latin Name: (Tamarindus indica)

Principal Varieties: Many different types exist locally.

HARVEST

Maturity: Harvest by size and general appearance. It is useful to use the season and the time of normal bearing of the given tree as a guide. Pods should be harvested when ripe. Pods harvested too early hew very poor keeping quality and flavour. Pods harvested too late tend to be too dry with greater tendency to insect infestation.

Method: By hand or by using picking pole with bag which can be placed over clusters and shaken to dislodge pods. Pods may also be quickly harvested by shaking the tree if an appropriate collector or net is used.

Field Assembly: Place pods in field crate for removal from field.

POST -HARVEST

Treatment: Generally no specific post-harvest treatment are necessary.

Selection/Grade: Remove immature, broken, rotting pods and pods with evidence of insect infestation e.g. holes. If grading is required by the market, also remove discoloured pods and pods with less than four seeds.

Packaging: Packaging in cardboard boxes or light wooden crates for shipment.

Ambient Storage Life: Carefully harvested and selected pods sometimes store well at ambient for several weeks. Long-term storage should not be planned unless reduced temperature storage is available since fungal growth on the seeds of stored pods is common problem.

 

COMMON NAME: PLUM

Latin Name: (Flacourtia ramontchi)

Principal Varieties: Known variously as Governor's Plum or Ramomtchi

HARVEST

Maturity: Harvest at mature green and hard turning stages as indicated by size and hint of reddish brown colour.

Method: By hand as far as possible.

Field Assembly: Place in field crates in shaded area of field.

POST-HARVEST

Treatment: No specific treatment is generally necessary. Plums may be washed if necessary but they must be thoroughly dried before packaging.

Selection/Grade: Discard any soft ripe, malformed or damaged fruit or fruit with mealy bugs or scale insects or scabbing. Rotting may begins in the field and this is not easily spotted during the rapid picking process. If necessary, fruit may be graded by size or into mature green and turning.

Packaging: Package plums in cardboard cartons or wooden crates.

Ambient Storage Life: Generally plums take 3-5 days to ripen from the mature green stage. Ripe plums have a shelf life of about 2 days.

 

COMMON NAME: SUGAR APPLE & DUSTARD APPLE

Latin Name: (Annona squamosa & A. reticulate)

Principal Varieties: Many different types exist

HARVEST

Maturity: Harvest at mature green stage. This stage is indicated by a combination of size, colour and general appearance, especially spread of the fruit segments.

Method: By hand as far as possible. Picking poles with attached bags may also be used.

Field Assembly: Place fruit in field crates or baskets in shaded area.

POST-HARVEST

Treatment: No specific post-harvest treatment is necessary.

Selection/Grade: Discard all fruit that are damaged, malformed, scarred or ripe. Look specifically for mealy bugs on fruit and discard infested fruit. Grade fruit according to size.

Packaging: Package fruit in cardboard boxes or wooden crates.

Ambient Storage Life: Mature green fruit ripen in 3 to 6 days. Shelf life of the ripe fruit is about three (3) days.

 

COMMON NAME: SWEET POTATO

Latin Name: (Ipomea batatas)

Principal Varieties:

HARVEST

Maturity:

Method: Harvest carefully to avoid mechanical injury. Any digging implement suited to the soil type can be used as long as it gives good soil separation and lifting of the tubers without injury.

Select our rotted, infested, malformed and damaged sweet potatoes during the harvesting process. Pile produce in small heaps or place in field crates, baskets or similar containers to facilitate pick-up and removal from field. Remove harvested wet potatoes from the field as soon as possible and provide shade in the field if the harvesting process or waiting time before removal is more than two (2) hours.

Field Assembly:

POST-HARVEST

Treatment: Wash sweet potatoes to remove soil and place in single layer on perforated racks in well ventilated area to drain and air dry. Fungicide treatment may be applied after washing.

Selection/Grade: Select out sweet potatoes which are badly bruised, and those which have cracks, cuts or puncture wounds. Grade sweet potatoes into sizes suitable for the particular market.

Packaging: Pack sweet potatoes in wooden crates or cardboard cartons. Potatoes should be packed firmly to prevent movement of the tubers relative to each other and to the sides of the container.

Ambient Storage Life: Depends on thoroughness of curing, but may keep for two or more weeks if kept well ventilated and in the dark to prevent sprouting.

 

 

COMMON NAME: YAMS

Latin Name: (Dioscorea spp)

Principal Varieties: Various local cultivars

HARVEST

Maturity: Harvest when fully mature as usually indicated by senescene of the vines. In some types of D. cayenensis where the vines do not senesce markedly, tubers should be harvested based on time from establishment of the crop.

Method: Harvest carefully using tools suited to the soil type and paying attention to the depth to which the tubers penetrate.

Field Assembly: Pile harvested yams in small heaps in the field or place directly into field crates, baskets or similar field containers to facilitate the removal of produce from the field.

POST - HARVEST

Treatment: Wash yams if heavily contaminated with soil and if the market demands it, but do not leave soaking in wash bins or troughs. Wash and remove tubers ad quickly as possible. Very large yams should be cut into pieces with a clean sharp knife. Damaged areas on large yams should also be removed by clean cut. Cut yams should be treated with recommended fungicide. Yams should be thoroughly air dried after washing or treatment and before shipping.

Selection/Grade: Removed all badly damaged, cut, crushed or punctured tubers. Grade according to size where intact tubers are being handled.

Packaging: Pack yams in cardboard box" or wooden crates for shipment.

Ambient Storage Life: Sound tubers keep for several weeks at ambient. However, the storage life varies with cultivar. The major post-harvest problem is sprouting.

 

COMMON NAME: EDDOE AND TANNIA

Latin Name: (Colocasia esculenta var antiquorum sagittifoliu.)

Principal Varieties: Various local types exist

HARVEST

Maturity: Cormels should be harvested when mature as indicated by period of growth and senescence of the foliage.

Method: Harvest cormels carefully. Use lifting shaking motion using tools suited to the soil type. Cormels should be removed carefully from the main corn so that the 'necks' are not broken.

Field Assembly: Place cormels directly into field crates or baskets in the shade.

POST-HARVEST

Treatment: Wash only if the market requires it or if the produce is heavily contaminated with soil. Otherwise excess soil should be brushed from cormels if soil type is friable. Rub fibres off surface of eddoes and wash for extra-regional export. If produce is washed, cormels should be removed quickly from the water and treated with fungicide or antimicrobial agent. Drain produce and place in single layers in well ventilated area to allow for thorough air drying before packing.

Selection/Grade: Select out badly damaged or broken cormels.

Packaging: Pack snugly in wooden crates or cardboard boxes to avoid abrasion damage from movement of contents.

Ambient Storage Life: Best marketed for immediate consumption but may keep for two or more weeks if properly cleaned and prepared and stored in dark well ventilated store.

 

COMMON NAME: CASSAVA

Latin Name: (Manihot esculenta)

Principal Varieties:

HARVEST

Maturity: Harvest roots when mature. Immature roots do not have the best cooking quality and they do not have sufficient starch to make good quality processed products like farine. Roots may be harvested post-mature for processing.

Method: By any method which gives the minimum damage to the roots. Types with roots borne near the surface and grown on mounds in friable soil types can be harvested by grasping the main stem and lifting with a pulling, shaking motion to loosen roots. Other types may be harvested with a fork or cutlass or both. Mechanical harvesters can be used if they do not damage root significantly.

Field Assembly: Place roots immediately after harvest into covered field containers or into ventilated plastic bags. Avoid totally, exposure to the sun or drying winds.

POST-HARVEST

Treatment: Wash root and use directly for marketing or processor. If roots cannot be utilized immediately, place into plastic bags, crates or boxes with moist media e.g. coconut coir, sand. Roots may also be reburied in moist soil. If root are to be kept for more than three (3) days in this way a fungicide dip should be used before storage.

Selection/Grade: Discard small and badly damaged roots if stored or retailed as a fresh staple. All roots can be utilized for immediate processing.

Packaging: Package roots in plastic bags for sale. Bags can be transported in wooden crates.

Ambient Storage Life: Cassava roots store from 1 to 7 days at dry ambient conditions (i.e. without any protection packaging). With appropriate post-harvest treatments roots may be stored at ambient for 2 to 3 weeks.

 

 

COMMON NAME: DASHEEN

Latin Name: (Colocasia esculenta var esculenta)

Principal Varieties: There are several local types

HARVEST

Maturity: When fully mature using length of growth period and senescence of the leaves as indicators.

Method: Harvest very carefully. Trim excess roots making sure that the body of the corm is not damaged. Trim cabbage and leaves close to base using clean cutlass or knife. Final trimming may be left for later after removal from field.

Field Assembly: Select out small corms to be used as planting material. Remove all rotting or damaged corms during harvesting. Place harvested corms in field crates, bags or baskets in the shade.

POST-HARVEST

Treatment: Wash corms carefully removing all traces of soil. Do not leave soaking in water but remove quickly. Use fungicide dip or antimicrobial agent after washing. Allow to drain and air dry or cure completely before packaging. Dasheen corms should be kept dry and in a well ventilated area until packaged.

Selection/Grade: All rotting corms should be removed along with badly damaged corms. Grade according to size.

Packaging: Package as close to shipment time as possible. Corms should be checked during packing for rots, evidence of softening or external evidence of fungal infections. Use wooden crates or cardboard cartons for shipping dasheen.

Ambient Storage Life: Should be marketed for immediate consumption.


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