Karma Dorji, Kinley Wangmo & Thinley Wangdi
Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are some of the common vegetables that are grown and traded in Bhutan. It is cultivated in one part of the country and then transported to urban areas of the country for marketing. Poly sacks are commonly used for packing and transporting these vegetables. Plastic crates are recommended and promoted for use in packing and transporting vegetables but there is no study that has been conducted to prove their benefits. The aim of this study was to assess the transportation damage and economic benefit of using plastic crates during the transportation of vegetables compared to that of the poly sack. Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower were harvested in the late afternoon from Chali Gewog, sorted, packed and transported to the market in Bumthang town in the same evening. At the market, vegetables were assessed for transportation damage and physiological loss of weight was recorded. Broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower packed in poly packs reported transportation damage of 8.75, 8.33 and 12.50 heads against 0.96, 0.44 and 0.41 percent for the plastic crate-packed vegetable samples with significant differences at P≤0.05. Poly-packed samples had significantly higher PLW of 2.02 kg, 2.83 kg and 3.40 kg compared to much lower PLW of 0.21 kg, 0.24 kg and 0.36 kg for broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, respectively. Among the vegetables packed in poly sacks, transportation damage was significantly higher for cauliflower at 12.5 heads compared to 8.75 and 8.33 heads for broccoli and cabbage. Transportation damage was minimal and not significantly different between the three vegetables for plastic crates sample. Harvesting damage of 0.35 was observed in broccoli while cabbage and cauliflower did not have harvesting damage. Physiological loss of weight was significantly higher in cauliflower for both packaging types. The net return from broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower packed in plastic crates was higher at Nu.27779.4, Nu.8252.48, Nu.31127.4 compared to Nu.25232, Nu.7540 and Nu.26852 for poly sack packages, respectively. It is recommended that use of plastic crates for handling and transportation of broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower be encouraged and promoted among the stakeholders.
Keywords: Broccoli; cabbage; cauliflower; transportation damage; PLW; net return