Sonam Tobgay, Dechen Tshering, Dorji Rinchen, Sonam Dorji, Karma Dorji & Jigme Tenzin
Postharvest damage and losses in the horticultural production chain is a major challenge in a developing country like Bhutan. Though there are significant damages and losses of mandarin fruits in Bhutan, no reliable data is available. This study through field surveys assessed the extent of damages and losses due to postharvest conditions in the field as well as natural factors. Data were randomly collected from the fields of eight districts (Samdrup Jongkhar, Pema Gatshel, Zhemgang, Sarpang, Tsirang, Dagana, Chukha and Samtse). Postharvest damages of mandarin fruits due to postharvest handling was found to be 25.57% while the complete loss of mandarin due to same factor stands at 5.63%. Partial damages from natural causes such as diseases, birds, pests and physiological disorders stands at 10.26% while, 3.82% were completely damaged in the field. This accounts to 31.20% of the total mandarin fruits harvested being damaged (including losses) due to postharvest handling operations and 14.08% of the mandarin fruits were damaged (including losses) at the time of harvesting due to natural causes making the total damage to the mandarin fruits at 45.28%. Only about 54.73% of the mandarin fruits were marketed without damages or defects. Harvesting operations contributed to about 9.37% while, physiological disorders accounted for the maximum damages with 11.63% among the natural causes. Lack of proper storage and transportation facilities were the leading factors. Mandarin growers need to be supported with proper storage and transportation facilities as well as educate players in the value chain.
Keywords: Mandarin fruits, Postharvest damages, Losses
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