Assessing harvesting and postharvest handling practices of Strychnos cocculoides fruit in the Kavango West Region of Namibia

Elago, Selma Ndemutila (2016-12)

Thesis (MScFor)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Traditional harvesting methods used by rural people to harvest indigenous fruit remain a challenge in rural communities. Such methods lead to post harvest losses of fruit. This study was conducted in Ncuncuni Constituency of Kavango West Region; Namibia. It focused mainly on two villages namely, Kaguni and Mile 20. The study sought to assess harvesting and postharvest handling practices of Strychnos cocculoides. Specifically the study identified existing harvesting and postharvest handling practices. It assessed the level of postharvest losses of S. cocculoides fruit at different handling practices and maturity stages. It further assessed fruit quality in terms of Total Soluble Solids (TSS), taste, size, and weight. Data was collected between September and October 2015 by means of semi structured and a consumer preferences questionnaire. Focus group discussion and direct observations were also employed during data collection. A total of 160 harvesters and 150 consumers from both study sites were interviewed. The findings indicated the fruit are harvested between June and December mainly by women and children. The fruit were harvested in crop fields and communal forests mainly for consumption and income generation. Fruit were harvested fully mature, half mature and just mature. Climbing the tree and using the stick method to dislodge the fruit to the ground was the two methods used for harvesting. From the field, the fruit were transported to homesteads and markets with a vehicle, donkey/oxen cart, head load or public trucks. The fruit were stored in traditional huts, loose on the ground or in gunny bags in the shade of trees. The fruit were sold next to the main road in both study sites as well as in urban areas within Namibia. The maturity stages at which the fruit were harvested had no significant effect on fruit weight, size and TSS as well as taste in terms of consumer preferences. Poor harvesting and post-harvest handling practices were observed in both study sites. Fruit damage due to cracks bruises, rotting during harvesting, transportation, storage and marketing was the main challenges caused by poor harvesting and handling practices. Fruit were reported to be deteriorating resulting in short shelf life. The poor harvesting handling practices can have a negative impact on the income generated from the sale of the harvested fruit.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die oes van inheemse vrugte deur landelike gemeenskappe word gekenmerk as ‘n uitdaging weens tradisionele oesmetodes omdat dit groot vrugte verliese tot gevolg het. Die studie was uitgevoer in die Ncuncuni kiesafdeling van die Kavango Wes streek; Namibië. Dit het hoofsaaklik gefokus op die Kaguni en Mile 20 gemeenskappe. Die studie het gepoog om die oes en na-oes hantering van Strychnos cocculoides te assesseer deur die huidige hanterings praktyke te evalueer. Daarom is die vlak van na-oes verliese van S. cocculoides tydens verskillende hanteringspraktyke en rypheidsgrade geassesseer. Kwaliteit van vrugte is ook geassesseer deur middel van Totale Oplosbare Suikers (TOS), smaak, grootte en gewig. Data is tussen September en Oktober 2015 ingesamel met behulp van semi-gestruktureerde en verbruikers voorkeur vraelyste. Fokusgroepe en direkte waarnemings was ook gebruik om data in te samel. Altesaam 160 stropers en 150 verbruikers, van beide studie gebiede, was ondervra. Resultate het aangedui dat vrugte hoofsaaklik van Junie to Desember ge-oes word deur vroue en kinders. Vrugte word in die gewas velde en openbare woude hoofsaaklik vir huisgebruik en inkomste generering geoes. Verder is vrugte geoes as ten volle ryp, half ryp en slegs ryp. Boomklim en die stokmetode (vrugte word losgedraai deur middel van ‘n stok) is hoofsaaklik gebruik om vrugte te oes. Vrugte is vervoer vanaf, byvoorbeeld woude, na hutte en markte met ‘n voertuig, donkie-/oskar, op die kop of publieke vervoer (trokke). Die vrugte is gestoor in tradisionele hutte, in hope op die grond, in streepsakke of in die skadu van bome. Verder is vrugte hoofsaaklik verkoop langs hoofpaaie of in stedelike gebiede in Namibië. Die rypheidsgrade waarby vrugte geoes was het geen betekenisvolle effek op die gewig, grootte, TOS en smaak gehad in terme van verbruikers voorkeure. Swak oes en na-oes hanterings praktyke was in beide studie gebiede waargeneem. Daarom was vrugte skade (krake, kneusplekke, interne verval), opberging en vervoer as die hoof uitdagings geïdentifiseer. As gevolg van vrugte wat vinnig versleg het geoeste vrugte ‘n kort rakleeftyd gehad. Daarom kan die swak oes en hanterings praktyke ‘n negatiewe invloed hê op die inkomste generering en verkope van vrugte.

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