Frequently Asked Questions –

The Postharvest Education Foundation (PEF)

     1. Where can I find PEF’s manuals and training materials?
2. What are some key Postharvest Best Practices?
3. How do I design a postharvest training program?
4. I need to conduct local training on postharvest topics. How do I contact PEF e-learning graduates to get their advice or to work with them as trainers or consultants?
5. Can I work with PEF on research projects, lab studies, graduate education or post-doctoral studies?
6. Does PEF offer scholarships, grants or paid jobs?
7. What kind of projects does PEF work on?
8. Where can I get some ideas for my postharvest research studies?
9. How can I purchase Postharvest Tool Kits?
10. How do I design a Packinghouse?
11. Where can I purchase postharvest equipment, tools and supplies?

1. Where can I find PEF’s manuals and training materials?

PEF E-learning manual (free to download)

http://postharvest.org/postharvest_elearning_program1.aspx

http://postharvest.org/PEF%20Training%20of%20Postharvest%20Trainers%20Manual%202016%20FINAL.pdf

Links to updated CSAM food loss assessment manuals (free to download)

LaGra, Kitinoja and Alpizar, (2016). Commodity Systems Assessment Methodology for Value Chain Problem and Project Identification: A first step in food loss reduction. Costa Rica: IICA http://repiica.iica.int/docs/B4232i/B4232i.pdf

LaGra, Kitinoja and Alpizar, (2016). Metodología de evaluación de cadenas agroalimentarias para la identificación de problemas y proyectos: un primer paso para la disminución de pérdidas de alimentos. Costa Rica: IICA http://repiica.iica.int/docs/B4231e/B4231e.pdf

Links to Small-scale postharvest handling practices manuals (free to download)

5th edition (Kitinoja and Kader 2015) Small scale postharvest handling practices: a manual for horticultural crops. Hort Series 8E. University of California, Davis.

http://ucanr.edu/sites/Postharvest_Technology_Center_/files/231952.pdf

For other languages links: http://postharvest.ucdavis.edu/Library/Postharvest_Center_Publications/

2. What are some key Postharvest Best Practices?

Postharvest best practices for developing countries and rural areas include these simple, low cost practices:

  • Using proper maturity indices to judge when to harvest fruits and vegetables, so that produce is adequately mature and ready for marketing (for example, tomatoes can be harvested at the breaker or pink stage if they will be sent to distant markets, and by the time they arrive they will be red ripe)
  • Using stronger packages (such as reusable plastic crates that can be cleaned and used hundreds of times),
  • Keeping produce cool, by harvesting early in the morning, keeping the fruits and vegetables in the shade, using evaporative cooling methods (where cooler, moist air moves over the produce, helping it cool off naturally). When vegetables are warm, they lose water rapidly-- for example, green beans will lose 20 to 35% of their weight before you can begin to see that they are shriveling.
  • Handling produce and their packages more gently during harvest, transport and stacking, and avoiding throwing, dropping or sitting on sacks of produce
  • Washing hands before harvest, keeping produce clean, off the ground, protected from insects, animals and rodents.

 

3. How do I design a postharvest training program?

A well designed training program starts with what the learners need to know.

Ask them about their past learning or experiences, what crops they are interested in learning more about, what postharvest problems they are having.

Then using a basic postharvest manual that covers ideas such as when to harvest, how to grade or sort, how to pack, etc., you can provide them with useful information. If possible it is always good to do a demonstration -- for example, show them how to use curing on root/tuber crops, or how to use shade to keep produce cool after harvest, or how a crate is better protection than a sack or bag for carrying produce to market.

4. I need to conduct local training on postharvest topics. How do I contact PEF e-learning graduates to get their advice or to work with them as trainers or consultants?

The PEF website includes a page with a list of our postharvest e-learning program graduates: http://postharvest.org/alumni_list.aspx

5. Can I work with PEF on research projects, lab studies, graduate education or post-doctoral studies?

PEF is not affiliated with any university, and we do not have a laboratory, but there two excellent postharvest graduate studies programs in the USA-- one is at the University of California at Davis (http://postharvest.ucdavis.edu ) and one is at the University of Florida IFAS (http://hos.ufl.edu/faculty/jkbrecht ). You can visit these websites and find links to the people you will need to communicate with regarding graduate studies.

6. Does PEF offer scholarships, grants or paid jobs?

No, PEF does not provide scholarships, grants or paid jobs. We are managed 100% by volunteers in the USA and many other countries. The PEF website includes a page with information on scholarships and job postings. http://postharvest.org/scholarships_and_job_updates.aspx

7. What kind of projects does PEF work on?

PTSC - Success Stories

http://horticulture.ucdavis.edu/main/media%20page/success_postharvest_tech_service_center.pdf

Kitinoja and Barrett (2015) Extension of Small-Scale Postharvest Horticulture Technologies—A Model Training and Services Center. Agriculture 2015, 5, 441-455; doi:10.3390/agriculture5030441

Abstract: http://www.mdpi.com/2077-0472/5/3/441/

HTML Version: http://www.mdpi.com/2077-0472/5/3/441/html

PDF Version: http://www.mdpi.com/2077-0472/5/3/441/pdf

Rwanda project (2016-18) with Agribusiness Associates

http://horticulture.ucdavis.edu/main/projects/postharvest-loss-intervention-rwanda.html

8. Where can I get some ideas for my postharvest research studies?

USDA Handbook 66 (2016) http://ucanr.edu/datastoreFiles/234-2927.pdf

https://www.ars.usda.gov/ARSUserFiles/oc/np/CommercialStorage/CommercialStorage.pdf

9. How can I purchase Postharvest Tool Kits?

The cost for each kit is $US300 and they are available at this subsidized price only via The Postharvest Education Foundation. (The value of the kits is $400 each). The price includes free shipping to any USA based address. Send an email to kitinoja@postharvest.org with your location and the number of tool kits you would like to purchase. PEF will send you an invoice via email.

Payment can be made via bank wire transfer or via PayPal.com (postharvest@postharvest.org).

If you need the tool kits shipped via international mail, the postage cost is an additional $100 per kit.

10. How do I design a Packinghouse?

The design always depends on the type of crop(s), the volume that is handled each day and the buyer's demands (for washing? trimming? cooling? special packaging?) And of course, there is the question of how much money you have available to spend on the packing facility.

A few basic principles can guide you in creating your own design:

1) keep the packing line simple and straight (or U-shaped if the room is small) to avoid cross-walking

2) don't add any unneeded steps (such as putting produce into crates, carrying and dumping the produce onto tables or conveyors, sorting back into crates, etc. before final packing) -- using a tray system can make things simple-- push the tray of cleaned produce along a table top or roller conveyor, workers can sort, grade and pack from the tray directly into final shipping containers

3) use people if possible rather than machines to sort and grade (manual handling causes less damage)

4) always use chlorinated wash water (or avoid using water if it is not possible to keep it clean)

5) GAP certification requires screened windows and covered light fixtures, hand washing stations, etc. (you can check the protocols for details).

11. Where can I purchase postharvest equipment, tools and supplies?

http://www.qasupplies.com

http://www.thomasnet.com

http://postharvest.ifas.ufl.edu/Postharvest%20Resources/Table%20of%20Contents.htm