Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi
Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana,India
 Sponsored by
Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi
Research Content
Evaluation of Post Harvest Losses in Tomato in Punjab

            The present study examined the production and marketing system of tomato in Punjab and assessed the extent of the losses at each stage. The study was based on the primary data collected from 12 small, 24 medium and 63 large farms selected on the basis of probability proportional to size. The study reveals that amongst different varieties grown in Punjab state, TH-802, TH-2312 and Punjab Kesri were preferred for the processing purposes while Punjab Tropic, S-12, Punjab NR-7 and Punjab Chhuhara were preferred for the table purposes. The average size of land holding for tomato growers was about 7 hectares as large farmers were more involved in tomato cultivation. On the sample farms, tomato was grown on about 16 per cent of the net cultivated area. The total cost of cultivation (Cost C3) for tomato cultivation was Rs 36393/ha. The net returns over Cost C3 were Rs 34658/ha. The benefit cost ratios were more than one for all the farm size categories. The tomato growers were using the excessive doses of fertilizers and insecticides. The coefficients of regression and MVP factor cost ratio for human labour were positive and significant showing underutilization of this resource. The regression coefficients of expenses on seed and plant protection were negative indicating excessive use of these inputs. The highest proportion of tomato was sold through commission agent/wholesaler (about 52%) followed by processor (about 43%) and about 5 per cent by retailer and consumers. The processing plants preferred the large farmers for the contract while the small farmers disposed of the maximum proportion of their produce in the market. The producers were fetching the highest price through direct sale to consumers followed by commission agent/wholesaler, retailer and processor. The marketing cost was the highest for small farms (Rs 68/q) as they sold large proportion of produce in the market, which required the extra cost of grading and packing than that required for sale to the processor. The net price received by the tomato growers was the highest while direct sale to consumer (Rs 228/q) followed by sale through commission agent/wholesalers (Rs 144/q), processor (Rs 143/q) and retailer (Rs 131/q). During production of tomato, the growers were confronting with problems of high infestation by fruit borer, poor quality of pesticides and high cost of inputs. On the marketing front, the growers were not getting the remunerative prices in the market and they had to face compulsory weight cut at the processing plant. The growers were in favour of minimum support price, establishment of more processing plants in the region and improvement in the quality of inputs. At the farmer's level, the losses were incurred during harvesting, at the time of grading and packing and had to face compulsory weight cut at one of the processing unit. Overall, about 11 per cent of the produce was lost during handling of tomato at the farmers end. The losses en route transportation to the local market at the retailer’s level was 1.46 per cent. Therefore, a large proportion (about 13 per cent) of total production of tomato in the region was lost during various post-harvest stages and ultimately 87 per cent of the total tomato produce reached the ultimate hands of the consumer. The pre-harvest cultural practices, harvesting in the early morning or late afternoon and avoiding harvesting in wet conditions are crucial for the reduction of post-harvest losses. Proper grading improves the quality and the price in the market. The plastic crates should be preferred cover the loose or packing in the box as it is economical investment. The package should provide adequate level of ventilation to the produce with the minimum wasted space. On the basis of study, it is recommended that the primary agricultural credit societies, processing firms and other funding agencies should be persuaded to provide adequate short-term credit facilities to over the higher operational cost. The government can bring suitable legislative measures to strictly adhere for the contract between the contract farmers and the processing firms. To make contract farming more lucrative, the processing firms may procure the produce at the farm gate or arrange for trucks of their own by charging a reasonable amount from the farmers for transportation of tomato. As the tomato crop is very risky, a crop insurance scheme may be introduced to compensate the farmers, even when there is very high occurrence of pest and diseases apart from adverse climatic conditions with a reasonable premium.