Keywords: postharvest losses, mechanical defects, banana supply chains, critical control points, fruit supply chains, supply chain management, SCM, food losses, agri–food supply chains, developing countries, Zimbabwe, food handling, temperature control, relative humidity, mechanical damage, bananas
Identifying causes of mechanical defects and critical control points in fruit supply chains: an overview of a banana supply chain
The issue of food losses is of high importance in the efforts to combat hunger, raise income and improve food security in many developing countries. Therefore, there is need to minimise food losses in agri–food supply chains. This study was conducted with the aim to identify causes of mechanical defects in banana fruit supply chain in Zimbabwe and to also establish critical control points at which incidence of the mechanical fruit defects can be minimised in the chain. Data was gathered through interviews and participatory observation. Most of the causes of mechanical defects were found to be due to poor handling at the different stages in the chain. Propping, maturity at harvest, handling during harvesting and packing, and control of temperature and relative humidity during fruit ripening were established as critical control points at which incidence of mechanical damage can be minimised.