Document Type : Original Article


1 The Postharvest Education Foundation PO Box 38, La Pine, Oregon 97739 USA

2 Department of Horticulture, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria

3 Amity International Center for Post-Harvest Technology & Cold Chain Management. Amity Institute of Horticulture Studies & Research, Amity University-Uttar Pradesh, Noida-201301

4 University of Rwanda, Bushogo, Rwanda

5 Agribusiness Associates Inc., Davis, California, 95618 USA


Purpose: This study was conducted to identify and quantify the main causes and sources of losses in the tomato postharvest chain from harvest to retail market and identify appropriate interventions for reducing these losses in Nigeria, Rwanda and India. Research method:  Modified Commodity Systems Assessment Methodology on tomato was conducted in the study area during the July - August 2017 harvest season. Findings: Generally, production is increasing with high postharvest losses. Tomato postharvest losses were uniformly high on the farm during harvest but generally lower during marketing in India than in Rwanda or Nigeria. Nigeria loses 10-40% of tomato produced from the farm to the retail market due to poor handling and unavailability of storage facilities. In Rwanda, tomato losses were exceedingly high, reaching 50 to 60%. These losses begin with the use of poor quality seeds to rough handling and use of inappropriate packaging materials. Losses in India varied between 1-18% mainly due to pest and disease attack and low price realization during glut season. However, in India, improved practices have been widely adopted on farm to retail market. Limitations:  Resources were limited, so a single two week time period were randomly selected to conduct each of the studies which  focused on one state, district or region, so data cannot be used to describe losses for the entire country. Originality/Value: These studies identified priority tomato postharvest problems, key issues that currently limit market access, earnings for small farmers and rural marketer, training and advocacy issues for the three countries.


Main Subjects

Arah, I. K., Ahorbo, G. K., Anku, E. K., Kumah, E. K. & Amaglo, H. (2016). Postharvest handling practices and treatment methods for tomato handlers in developing countries. A mini review. Advances in Agriculture. 1-8.

Arah, I. K., Kumah, E. K., Anku, E. K., & Amaglo, H. (2015). An overview of postharvest losses in tomato production in Africa; causes and possible prevention strategies. Journal of Biology, Agriculture and Healthcare, 5(16), 78-88

Babarinsa, F. A., Ogundele, R. B., Babarinsa, O. A. & Omodara, M. A. (2018). Evaluation of plastic crate as replacement for raffia basket to prevent in-transit damage of packaged tomatoes. Journal of Postharvest Technology, 6(3), 70-79.

Burden, J., & Wills, R. B. H. (1989). Prevention of post-harvest food losses:  fruits, vegetables and root crops. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Chahine, H., Kitinoja, L. & Wheeler, L. (2017). Commodity systems assessment study: Report on tomatoes in Rwanda. ABA Inc for the Horticultural Innovation Lab.

Dari, L., Nenguwo, N. & Afari-Sefa, V. (2018). Evaluation of packaging liners in wooden and plastic crates for handling tomatoes. Journal of Postharvest Technology, 6(1), 36-40.

Dubey, N., Roy, S. K., Saran, S., & Raman, N. L. M. (2013). Evaluation of efficacy of zero energy cool chamber on storage of banana (Musa paradisiaca) and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) in peak summer season. Current Horticulture, 1(2), 27-31.

FAOSTAT. (2016). Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.

Idah, P. A., Ajisegiri, E .S. A. & Yisa, M. G. (2007) Fruits and vegetables handling and transportation in Nigeria. AU Journal of Technology, 10(3), 175-183.

Jaiswal, A. K., Kumar, S. & Bhatnagar, T. (2018). Studies to enhance the shelf life of tomato using aloe vera and neem based herbal coating. Journal of Postharvest Technology, 6(2), 21-28.

Kader, A. A. (1986). Effects of postharvest handling procedures on tomato quality. Acta Horticulturae, 190, 209-222.

Kader, A .A. (2005).  Increasing food availability by reducing postharvest losses of fresh produce.  Proceedings of the 5th International Postharvest Symposium, 1-3(682), 2169-2175.

Kader A. A. & Cantwell, M (2005). Produce quality rating scales and color charts. Postharvest Hort Series No 23. Postharvest Technology Center, University of California, Davis.

Khubone, L. W. & Mditshwa, A. (2018). The effects of UV-C irradiation on postharvest quality of tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum). Acta Horticulturae, 1201, 75-82.

Kitinoja, L. & AlHassan, H. Y. (2012). Identification of appropriate postharvest technologies for small-scale horticultural farmers and marketers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia-Part 1. Postharvest Losses and Quality Assessments. Proceeding. XXVIIIth IHC-IS on Postharvest Technology in the Global Market. Eds M.I. Cantwell and D.P.F. Almeida. Acta Horticulturae, 934: 31-40.

Kitinoja, L. & Kader, A. A. (2015). Small-scale postharvest handling practices. A manual for Horticultural crops (5th edition). University of California, Davis. Postharvest Technology Research and Information Center.

Kitinoja, L., Hell, K., Chahine, H. & Brondy, A. (2016). Reducing on-farm food losses in the OIC member countries. Standing committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC). /10.13140/GR.2.1.3291.992

Kutama, A. S., Aliyu, B. S., & Mohammed, I. (2007). Fungal pathogens associated with tomato wicker storage baskets. Science World Journal, 2(2).

La Gra J. (1990). A Commodity System Assessment Methodology for Problem and Project Identification. Moscow, Idaho: Postharvest Institute for Perishables.

La Gra, J., Kitinoja L. & Alpizar, K. (2016). Commodity systems assessment methodology for value chain problem and project identification: A first step in food loss reduction. San Jose, Costa Rica: IICA. 246 pp.

Nunes, C. (2008). Impact of environmental conditions on fruit and vegetable quality. Stewart Postharvest Review, 4(4), 1-14. /10.2212/spr.2008.4.4

Odeyemi, O. M., Bodunde, J. G. & Onifade, O. T. (2015). Low cost postharvest storage technology for smallholder fruits and vegetable farmers in southwestern, Nigeria. The First International Congress on Postharvest Loss Prevention, Rome, Italy. 109-111.

Osemwegie, O. O., Oghenekaro, A. O. & Owolo, L. O. (2010). Effects of pulverized ganoderma spp., on sclerotium rolfsiisacc and post-harvest tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) fruits preservation. Journal of Applied Sciences Research, 6(11), 1794-1800.

Salami, P., Ahmadi,  H.,  Keyhani,  A.  & Mohammad, S. M.  (2010.) Strawberry post-harvest energy losses in Iran. Researcher, 2(4), 67-73.

Saran, S., Roy, S. K. & Kitinoja, L. (2012). Appropriate postharvest technologies for improving market access and incomes for small horticultural farmers in Sub- Saharan Africa and South Asia. Part 2: Field trial results and identification of research needs for selected crops.  Acta Horticulturae, 934, 41-52.

Toivonen, P. M. A. (2008). Fruit maturation and ripening and their relationship to quality. Stewart Postharvest Review, 3(2), pp. 7.1-7.5. 10.2212/spr.2007.2.7

Tokola, V.Y. (2014). Assessment of cultivation practices of banana using commodity system assessment methodology (CSAM) in Ananthpur, Andhra Pradesh. International Journal of Current Research, 6(3), 5883-5887.

USDA (2017). National nutrient database for standard references 2017, Retrieved from

Van Dijk, N., Dijkxhoorn, N. & Van Merriënboer, S. (2015). SMART tomato supply chain analysis for Rwanda: Identifying opportunities for minimizing food losses. BoP Innovation Center & Wageningen University. (Re-analyses the WFLO 2010 study findings).

WFLO (2010). Appropriate postharvest technologies for improving market access and incomes for small horticultural farmers in Sub- Saharan Africa and South Asia. World Food Logistics Organization project final report for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. pp 318.