Evaluation of different packaging types for adoption in safe handling and transportation of fresh tomato fruits in Nigeria
Keywords:Fresh tomato fruit, packaging type, handling, transportation, post-harvest losses
This work evaluated plastic, wooden and carton crates and compared the best of them to traditional basket for possible adoption in safe handling and transportation of fresh tomato fruits in Nigeria. This was achieved through laboratory experiments and analysis involving static tests, simulating storage conditions (at average temperature and humidity of 28.920C and 62.08% respectively) and dynamic tests, simulating handling and transportation conditions involving dropping from different heights and vibration at different amplitudes and frequency. Based on experimental results and economic considerations, carton crate was adjudged the best and a new modified design of it was developed. The performance of the designed crate and the traditional basket presently in use in Nigeria was compared. Results of comparative predictive analysis between the carton and the traditional basket revealed that losses that can be incurred using traditional basket while on transit is about 6.25-7.08%; which can be reduced to an average of 5.71% when carton crates are used. In case of accident, the traditional method can incur an average loss of 51.59%, which can be reduced to an average of 37.88% when carton crates are used. In case of delay in travel (2-3weeks), the traditional method may lose an average of 23.81-88.10%, but this can be reduced to 14-67% when carton crates are used.