EFFECT OF LOCAL PACKAGING ON QUALITY OF FRESH PRODUCE (TOMATO)
1.1 Background of the study
Tomato (Lycopersicon esculenta) is an important fruit vegetable consumed all over the world. The consumption of tomato in recent time has increased due to the associated benefits of some phytochemicals including carotenoids. Carotenoids are responsible for the colour in tomatoes which are synthesized massively during fruit ripening . Other notable component of tomatoes is vitamin C. Depending on variety and growing conditions, the vitamin C content of tomatoes may vary between 39-263 mg/100 g . For instance, tomatoes grown on organic substrates were found to contain significantly more Ca and vitamin C than tomatoes grown on hydroponic media . Tomatoes may be eaten either raw or cooked. Being a climacteric and perishable vegetable, tomatoes have a very short lifespan, usually 2-3 weeks . Hence, tomato fruits must be properly handled after harvest in order to maintain quality and enhance consumer appeal during sale. The quality of tomato is determined by appearance, firmness, flavour and the nutritive value. These quality parameters are affected by several factors including, variety, agronomic practices, method of harvesting, time of harvesting, postharvest handling techniques, packaging materials and storage conditions. Packaging generally helps to protect and retain the quality of fresh horticultural produce and reduces damage during
papers, which showed approximately 20% weight loss after 28 days of storage at ambient temperature of 32 ± 2oC . Commercially, different packaging materials are used in the wholesale and retail market for the sale of fresh produce such as tomatoes. As stated above, the properties of these packaging materials may influence the product quality. Hence, this study investigates the influence of retail packaging; open box, open market bag, Xtend bags and sealed box on the quality of freshly harvested tomato fruits.
1.2 Statement of the problem
There have been the challenge of the effect of local packaging on the quality of fresh produce. This work gives recommendations.
1.3 Objectives of the study
1. To understand the effect of local packaging on quality of fresh produce
2. To understand the challenges of local packaging and solutions to improve upon it
1.4 Research questions
1. What is the effect of local packaging on quality of fresh produce?
2. What are the challenges of local packaging and solutions to improve upon it?
1.5 Research hypothesis
H0: There is no relationship between local packaging and quality of fresh produce
H1: There is a relationship between local packaging and quality of fresh produce