Dorji Rinchen, Sonam Tobgay, Dechen Tshering & Sonam Dorji
Post-harvest loss of apple (Malus domestica) poses major challenge to agricultural marketing in Bhutan. Though various post-harvest interventions were made, it is still a challenge to tackle post-harvest losses due to unavailability of data on losses of apple in the different stages of supply chain. This study was conducted in the two major apple growing districts of Paro and Thimphu to determine the post-harvest loss in apple during the harvest and post-harvest operations and also to identify different factors contributing to these post-harvest damages and losses. A major portion of production is lost during harvesting and post-harvest handling stages, which includes transportation to depot, sorting, grading, packaging, storage and further transportation to the foreign markets in India and Bangladesh. The total post-harvest loss of apples in Bhutan is estimated at 73.10% of the total production. Of the total damages and losses, 12.78% of the fruits are completely damaged and are unacceptable for both consumption and marketing, while 60.32% of the fruits are partially damaged and can still be consumed and marketed. Only 26.90% of the total production reaches the market without any post-harvest damages or defects. Natural causes such as diseases, insect and bird damages and physiological disorders also significantly contributed to the total loss of apple (30.16%) during and after harvesting.
Keywords: Apple, Post-harvest damages and losses
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