National Diploma in Post-harvest Technology
(NVQ Level 5 & 6)
Despite the remarkable progress made in increasing food production at the global level, approximately half of the population in the Third World does not have access to adequate food supplies. There are many reasons for this, one of which is food losses occurring in the post-harvest and marketing system. Evidence suggests that these losses tend to be highest in those countries where the need for food is greatest. Both quantitative and qualitative food losses of extremely variable magnitude occur at all stages in the post-harvest system from harvesting, through handling, storage, processing and marketing to final delivery to the consumer. Estimates of the post-harvest losses of food grains in the developing world from mishandling, spoilage and pest infestation are put at 25 percent; this means that one-quarter of what is produced never reaches the consumer for whom it was grown, and the effort and money required to produce it are lost-forever. Fruit, vegetables and root crops are much less hardy and are most quickly perishable, and if care is not taken in their harvesting, handling and transport, they will soon decay and become unfit for human consumption.