A Survey of Post-Harvest Techniques Employed in Handling and Storage of Sweet Oranges (<i>Citrus sinensis Osberk</i>) in Lagos, Ogun and Osun States, Nigeria
Keywords:Post-Harvest, Questionnaires, Harvesting Tools, Respondent, Sweet Oranges
Post-Harvest losses of fruits are considered to be a major problem that affects many farmers in most developing countries like Nigeria. Reduction of post-harvest losses and quality deterioration are essential in increasing food availability from the existing productions. Minimizing this loss has great significance for food security, economic growth and welfare of the society. Losses are caused by a variety of factors ranging from growth conditions, pre-harvest practices, types of harvesting techniques, post-harvest practices, means of transportations, condition of roads and retail stores or market. This survey was conducted to explore the farmersâ€™ practices, gender, harvesting techniques, means of transportation, wholesalers and retailers and consumers information. Structured questionnaires on farm gate, transportation, marketing, consumers, and post-harvest practices were administered to randomly, selected sweet orange (Citrus sinensis Osberk) farmers, marketers and consumers from all local government areas in each three states (Lagos, Osun, Ogun States). The data collected were subjected to descriptive analysis, means, percentages and graphs were drawn. The survey revealed that poor infrastructure, lack of formal education and poor agricultural practices account for over 50% losses from farm to the markets and finally to the consumers. Most traders took fruits to markets for sale without considering the quality of the produce. More than 70% of the respondents clear their farm by bush clearing using hired labourers. Orange plucking using long poles and shaking were practiced by 90-100% of farmers in the 3 states.Â Farmers heap their fruits on bare floor in Truck/ Lorries, pick up van and saloon cars (taxis). Over 90% of respondents made gains or profits from sweet orange business. Results also revealed 100% of respondents consumed sweet orange raw/fresh. Wholesalers and retailers were not aware of any suitable storage structures either in the market or on farm.Â The designed Go-to-Hell used for harvesting oranges had no degree of diseases incidence compared to long stick or shaking. The agricultural practices employed in handling and storage of sweet oranges in Lagos, Ogun and Osun States need to be improved upon.
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