Fruitsand vegetables are important sources of vitamins and minerals for human beingsthat can be had naturally. Under Sri Lankan contest Tomato, Banana and Papaya arevery famous perishables grown in the country. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) isa nutritive, versatile and perishable fruit and importance is; it is a goodsource of vitamin C, A and certain minerals such as Fe and Cu (Siemers, 1971).
It has a high demand both in local and foreign markets. Local market price isaround Rs.120.00 per one kilogram and in last decades, the total foreignexchange earnings from fresh tomato were 1.34million rupees (Sri Lanka CustomReturns 1991). Tomato is preferred by farmers due to high economic returns,export potential and nutritional value.
Tomato is cultivated in more than7137ha producing nearly 73917mt/year in Sri Lanka. However, the averageproductivity of tomato 10.36mt/ha in Sri Lanka, is contrasting lower thanglobal average of 24mt/ha (Sri Lanka Custom Returns 1991).In SriLanka, about 50,000 ha of land area are under banana cultivation and the annualproduction is about 450,000 (Wasala et al.
, 2012). One of the reasons for itsattractiveness for Sri Lankan farmers is its high economic gains throughout theyear (Hirimburegama et al., 2004). Banana is a climacteric perishable fruit andtherefore, its postharvest losses are relatively high and occur mainly duringhandling and transportation in the supply chain. Although bananas are harvestedat the mature green stage, the external appearance of the ripened bananas atthe retail shops is extremely poor due to excessive mechanical damages due toimproper handling in the supply chain (Sarananada, 2000). With all thesefactors, the postharvest losses of banana in Sri Lanka accounts for about 30%.According to Ekanayake and Bandara (2002), this loss is mainly due to the lackof appropriate packaging methods to transport from farm gate to the consumer.
At present the extent of papaya cultivation is 3123ha, and this extent is more than the forecasted extent in the year 2005. Papayahas a good demand for local as well as export. Rs. 0.25million worth of papaya(2184mt) has been exported to Germany, Bangladesh, Bahrain and Maldives in 1999(Table 2). The amount imported from Thailand and Singapore to the country ismore than amount exported and this shows that local demand is high, mostly thismay be again for hotel industry (Table 3). The fruit is used as fresh fruit aswell as for other processed products such as RTS and pickles etc.
Papaya hashigh content of carotene (Table 4) and other vitamins.There is no marked pricefluctuation in wholesale and retail prices except during April to June. Aconsiderable quantity of production is lost in the postharvest phase. Thehighest percentage of postharvest loss is found in papaya (46%) compared tobanana and pineapple.Postharvest losses (PHL) refer to the losses that occuralong the food supply chain, from the farm gate through till it gets on thetable of the final consumer. Losses are encountered along the chain in thehandling, storage, transportation and processing, thereby resulting in areduction in the quantity, quality and market value of agricultural commodities(Aramyan and Goush,2014; Parfitt et.al, 2010).
Within developing countries’ context concernsabout reduction of quantitative losses (i.e., weight, volume or total wastageof agricultural produce) are of higher priority than qualitative losses such asloss in edibility, nutritional quality, caloric value and consumeracceptability of the produce. It is also known that, in general, qualitativelosses are much more difficult to assess than quantitative losses.
Estimatedpost-harvest loss of tomato is ranged in between 25-45% both globally(Bourne,1986; Zaldivar, 1991) and locally (Felix and Mahendran, 2009).And also,most of the studies have been done considering only one supply chain forassessing the post-harvest loss of tomato (Felix and Mahendran, 2009). Therefore, it is important to assess howpost-harvest losses of tomato occur at different supply chains in the country.Main objective of this study is to estimate the post-harvest losses of tomatoin various supply chains of Sri Lanka and find the reasons for the large lossrange,