Postharvest Losses of Fruits and Vegetables Marketed in Seven Municipalities of the East Mesorregion, Maranhão, Brazil

Antonio Gabriel da Costa Ferreira, Lusiane de Sousa Ferreira, Francisco Gilvan Borges Ferreira Freitas Júnior, Marina Pacheco Santos, Marcelo de Sousa da Silva, Francisco Ivo dos Santos Aguiar, Tiago Vieira da Costa, Edmilson Igor Bernardo Almeida, Washington da Silva Sousa, José Roberto Brito Freitas


The production of fruits and vegetables is listed as one of the most relevant activities in brazilian agricultural conjuncture. However, the amount of losses occurring along the production chain is alarming, especially in the postharvest stage. Thus, it was aimed to conduct a survey of postharvest losses and characterize the scenario of commercialization of fresh produce in the retail market of seven cities in the east of Maranhão state. This work was carried out through direct interviews with 145 traders. The questionnaire with objective questions that covered socioeconomic aspects, handling, flow, conditioning, storage, marketing, and postharvest losses was applied to them. It was found that the traders had little schooling (92% of traders do not have a high school level) and lack adequate technical knowledge of produce, management, and marketing of fruit and vegetable produce. The traded vegetables are sourced from Piauí, Bahia and Ceará, and drained through canvas-covered trucks (86%). The three vegetables with the highest loss estimates are bell pepper (16.42 ± 2.21%), lettuce (11.79 ± 0.42) and tomato (11.38 ± 0.19%). Though, for fruits, it highlights plum (35.65 ± 1.34%), papaya (17.93 ± 3.79%) and guava (15.63±2.79%). Among the causes, those of physiological order was the most impacting. The largest losses of vegetables occurred in Coelho Neto (17.78%), Timon (13.46%) and Brejo (10.73%) cities. Regarding fruits, the order was Coelho Neto (11.48%), Brejo (11.27%) and Timon (10.84%). There is a need for better training and awareness of traders regarding the adoption of good post-harvest practices and proper management of the commercial activity, as a way to increase the profitability of this activity, which on average is equivalent to two minimum wages per month.

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Journal of Agricultural Studies   ISSN 2166-0379


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