What is Post Harvest Technology?
Post harvest technology (PHT), most popularly known as post harvest handling, is a series of methods and techniques used in the preservation of agricultural commodities after harvest. It is a science applied to agricultural commodities for the purpose of preservation, conservation, quality control and enhancement, processing, packaging, storage, distribution, marketing, and utilization to meet the food and nutritional requirements of consumers in relation to their needs.
Why is Post Harvest Technology important?
Harvested fruits and vegetables require extensive and advance post harvest processing in order to minimize both qualitative and quantitative losses after harvesting. Every year, nearly 40% of harvested fruits and vegetables are wasted due to improper handling, storage, packaging, and transportation.
As a means to counter this, post harvest technology or PHT provides trusted methods in the preservation of fruits and vegetables since they are often transported at a perishable state. These methods are used to maintain the quality of fruits and vegetables by strategically enhancing the environment related to the produce’s preservation, processing, packaging, storage, and distribution.
In addition to that, post harvest technology is involved not only in storage and preparation, but also extends as far as being applied to movements and operations that commodities undergo from harvest time until the very moment they are purchased by consumers.
How is Post Harvest Technology applied?
Post harvest technology (PHT) in fruits and vegetables has three main objectives:
- To maintain quality in terms of appearance, texture, flavor, and nutritive value
- To improve food security by safeguarding the produce’s safety
- To prevent losses involving produce and profit
Governed by these objectives, post harvest technology is applied through minimizing rough handling, sorting to remove damaged and disease produce, and strategically taking control of the storage environment’s temperature.
In general, these are the main methods used to considerable minimize losses and maintain the quality of fruits and vegetables while in storage and transport.