Reports of the APO seminar on Reduction of Postharvest Losses of Fruit and Vegetables held in India, 5–11 October 2004 and Marketing and Food Safety: Challenges in Postharvest Management of Agricultural/Horticultural Products in Islamic Republic of Iran, 23–28 July 2005. — Asian Productivity Organization, 2006. — 312 p.Recent regional economic growth and changes in dietary patterns have made both the production and consumption of fruit and vegetables increasingly important. The fruit and vegetable sector has a vital role in farm income enhancement, poverty alleviation, food security, and sustainable agriculture in Asia, especially in developing countries. This sector, however, suffers greatly from postharvest losses. Some estimates suggest that about 30–40% of fruit and vegetables are lost or abandoned after leaving the farm gate. Huge postharvest losses result in diminished returns for producers. International markets reject fruits and vegetables containing unauthorized pesticides, with pesticide residues exceeding permissible limits, and with inadequate labelling and packaging. Similarly there have been increasing concerns over food-borne diseases and poisoning such as Escherichia coli or Salmonella outbreaks. Obviously, postharvest management determines food quality and safety, competitiveness in the market, and the profits earned by producers. The postharvest management of fruit and vegetables in most developing countries in the region is, however, far from satisfactory. The major constraints include inefficient handling and transportation; poor technologies for storage, processing, and packaging; involvement of too many diverse actors; and poor infrastructure. In light of the incidence of the huge postharvest losses in the region and new challenges faced under trade liberalization and globalization, serious efforts are needed to reduce postharvest losses, especially of fruit and vegetables. This would include linking operations and actors involved more closely and systematically, modernizing marketing infrastructure and technologies, capacity building of individual actors, and strengthening the policy/institutional settings for better marketing. The concerted efforts of all, including the private and public sectors, are required to alleviate these constraints. To discuss the issues and challenges in strengthening postharvest management of fruit and vegetables, the APO organized two seminars. The first seminar on the “Reduction of Postharvest Losses of Fruit and Vegetables” was hosted by the Government of India in New Delhi from 5 to 11 October 2004 (hereafter called the India Seminar). This seminar discussed recent developments in management of postharvest losses of fruit and vegetables, and issues and constraints in reducing postharvest losses. The second seminar on “Marketing and Food Safety: Challenges in Postharvest Management of Agricultural/Horticultural Products”, was hosted by the Government of Islamic Republic of Iran from 23 to 28 July 2005 (hereafter called the Iran Seminar). The latter seminar focused on emerging marketing and food safety issues and challenges in the postharvest management of fruit and vegetables, and impediments in addressing them. This publication is a compilation of the selected resource papers and country papers presented at the seminars. I hope that it will serve as a useful reference on the subject in the Asia-Pacific and elsewhere.
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