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Script 66.2

Notes to broadcasters

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Some farmers consider post-harvest losses inevitable, and may not take steps to reduce losses. As a broadcaster, you have an opportunity to inform farmers about the benefits of reducing post-harvest losses. These radio spots help farmers understand that there are effective ways to reduce crop losses and increase their income.

These spots can be repeated several times to reinforce the message of proper handling. They are short enough to use between longer programs or immediately following sponsors’ messages. By repeating the introduction in each radio spot, your listeners will know that they are about to hear another useful tip.

You may want to develop other radio spots or programs on avoiding post-harvest losses with proper handling. Here are some topic ideas:

  • How to make a low-cost cooler to store fruits and vegetables
  • Traditional methods of storing grain work!
  • A solar dryer can boost farm income
  • Growing fruits and vegetables for the urban market
  • Growing fruits and vegetables for the export market
  • Best practices for harvesting and transporting mangoes (and other fruits)
  • Adding value to your farm produce through food processing

Script

Radio Spot #1: Harvest mangoes with care

[Note: Choose appropriate fruit for your region.]

When crops are damaged during or after harvest, they quickly spoil. You may not be able to sell your damaged produce, or you may be forced to sell at a reduced price. On the other hand, if you can reduce your losses, you can increase your income. Here’s one way to reduce your losses.

  • At harvest time do you pick the fruits? Or beat the trees?
  • When you are picking fruits, be careful not to knock them off the tree and onto the ground.
  • If fruit falls, it gets bruised or wounded.
  • Then disease and insects attack, and the fruit will quickly spoil.
  • It may be hard to prevent fruits from falling.
  • But if you reduce the number of falls, you will have high quality produce to sell.

Radio Spot #2: Harvest fruits and vegetables in the morning

When crops are damaged during or after harvest, they quickly spoil. You may not be able to sell your damaged produce, or you may be forced to sell at a reduced price. On the other hand, if you can reduce your losses, you can increase your income. Here’s one way to reduce your losses.

  • When is the best time to harvest fruits and vegetables?
  • The answer is, in the morning!
  • If you harvest your fruits and vegetables in the morning, they will look better and last longer.
  • Wait until the dew has evaporated.
  • Then harvest before the day gets too hot.
  • When you harvest later in the day your fruits and vegetables may be wilted or limp. You’ll also have more disease and insect problems.
  • So harvest in the morning for firmer, fresher fruits.

Radio Spot #3: Fruits spoil in the sun

[Note: This script requires three distinct voices – the host for the intro, and two female voices for the mother and daughter.]

Host
-When crops are damaged during or after harvest, they quickly spoil. You may not be able to sell your damaged produce, or be forced to sell at a reduced price. On the other hand, if you can reduce your losses, you can increase your income. Here’s one way to reduce your losses.

Mother
-Seema, please take this basket of fruit and put it under that tree over there while we’re waiting for the bus.

Daughter
-But Mother, the basket is so heavy. Can’t I leave it here?

Mother
-No. Here at the bus stop, there is no shade. The sun is blazing down on our nice ripe fruit.

Daughter
-Will that hurt the fruit?

Mother
-Yes. The sun blazing down on the fruit causes it to lose water and dry out. It will spoil quickly.

Daughter
-Okay. I’ll go and put the basket in the shade.

Mother
-Thank you. If we keep the fruit out of the sun it will still be fresh and firm when we get to market. And, it will bring more money.

Daughter
-Yes — maybe enough extra money to buy some sweets on the way home!

Mother
-(Laughing) Yes, maybe!


Radio Spot #4: Separate fruit from the stem

When crops are damaged during or after harvest, they quickly spoil. You may not be able to sell your damaged produce, or you may be forced to sell at a reduced price. On the other hand, if you can reduce your losses, you can increase your income. Here’s one way to reduce your losses.

Farmers know that damaged produce brings lower prices.

But how do you separate fruits from the stem without damaging them?

Many ripe fruits such as apples, passion fruits and tomatoes have a natural breaking point.

This means that some of the stem stays attached to the fruit.

These crops are best harvested in the following way:

  • Carefully lift the fruit, twist the stem and pull it from the tree.
  • That’s right – just lift the fruit, twist the stem and pull it from the tree.

This will reduce damage to apples, passion fruit and tomatoes.


Radio Spot #5: How to harvest immature fruits

When crops are damaged during or after harvest, they quickly spoil. You may not be able to sell your damaged produce, or you may be forced to sell at a reduced price. On the other hand, if you can reduce your losses, you can increase your income. Here’s one way to reduce your losses.

Sometimes we harvest fruits such as mangoes, avocadoes, papayas and citrus fruit before they are perfectly ripe.

These fruits must be harvested in a special way so their stems don’t break off.

If the stems break off, then disease can get at the fruit.

So here’s a good way to keep the stem attached:

  • Use a knife or clipper to cut the stalk, not the stem.
  • When you make the cut, leave a very short piece of the stalk attached.
  • If you use a knife, you won’t risk pulling the stem from the fruit.

That’s the very best way to harvest unripe fruit.


Radio Spot #6: Transport with care

When crops are damaged during or after harvest, they quickly spoil. You may not be able to sell your damaged produce, or you may be forced to sell at a reduced price. On the other hand, if you can reduce your losses, you can increase your income. Here’s one way to reduce your losses.

  • When you arrive at market, what is the condition of your fruits and vegetables?
  • Can you sell everything that you loaded on the truck?
  • This depends on how you transported your produce.
  • Try transporting produce in slatted wooden crates. Crates cause less damage than large sacks.
  • Use crates that won’t easily be crushed when they are piled up. This will reduce bruising.
  • Be careful of bamboo baskets – they have sharp sides that bruise their contents.
  • And don’t forget to use clean containers. If bags or boxes contain soil or decaying produce, your product will suffer. And so will the price you get.

Radio Spot #7: Avoid sap burn in mangoes

When crops are damaged during or after harvest, they quickly spoil. You may not be able to sell your damaged produce, or you may be forced to sell at a reduced price. On the other hand, if you can reduce your losses, you can increase your income. Here’s one way to reduce your losses.

If you want top price for your mangoes, don’t let them get blemishes called sap burn.

What is sap burn?

When you cut the stem of a mango, the sap will spill out.

If the sap touches the fruit, it causes a blemish.

This is called sap burn.

Customers pay less for mangoes with sap burn.

But there is a way to avoid it.

When you harvest your mangoes, leave a length of stem attached to the fruit.

Then, hold the mango upside down and clip the stem off, very close to the fruit.

It’s important to hold the mango upside down, so that when you clip the stem, the sap will spurt or drip downwards.

Make sure the sap doesn’t touch the fruit.

Place the mango upside down for 30 minutes until all the sap has drained out of the stem.

When the sap has all drained, the mango is ready for transport.


Radio Spot #8: Bumpy roads hurt produce

When crops are damaged during or after harvest, they quickly spoil. You may not be able to sell your damaged produce, or you may be forced to sell at a reduced price. On the other hand, if you can reduce your losses, you can increase your income. Here’s one way to reduce your losses.

After the long, bumpy road to market, are you happy with the quality of your crop?

If not, listen to this advice about how to transport your fruits and vegetables over bad roads.

  • Pack your crates tightly. This is especially important when both the road and the truck are in bad condition. Bumpy roads and old trucks can bounce your fruit and vegetables around, and cause plenty of damage. By packing the crates tightly, you reduce the amount of movement within the box, and reduce damage.
  • Don’t have enough produce to fill a box? Try filling the box with shredded paper, or a similar material. But, don’t pack the box too tightly! That can also cause damage. Snug – but not too tight. That should leave your packed food just about right!

Acknowledgements

Contributed by Vijay Cuddeford, North Vancouver, Canada.

Reviewed by François Mazaud, Senior Officer, Post-harvest Management Group, FAO, Rome, Italy.

Information Sources

Food loss prevention in perishable crops. FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin, Number 43, 1981. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy. Fax: +39.06.570.53023. Document available on-line.

Prevention of post-harvest food losses: fruits, vegetables and root crops, 1989. FAO Training Series: number 17/2. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy. Fax: +39.06.570.53023. Document available on-line.

Horticultural marketing – a resource and training manual for extension officers. FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin, Number 76, 1989. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy. Fax: +39.06.570.53023. Document available on-line.

Compendium on Post-harvest Operations, Ray Lantin. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.

Packaging for fruits, vegetables and root crops, Cornelis C.M Schuur, 1988. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy. Fax: +39.06.570.53023. Document available on-line.

For more information about storing, handling and processing foods, please contact François Mazaud, Post-harvest Management Group, Food and Agriculture Organization, Viale delle Terme de Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy. E-mail: francois.mazaud@fao.org URL:http://www.fao.org/inpho/