Postharvest Handling Practices and on Farm Estimation of Losses of Sesame (Sesamum indicum L.) Seeds: The case of two Wollega Zones in Ethiopia

  • Kumera Neme Department of Postharvest Management
  • Yetenayet B. Tola Department of Postharvest Management
  • Ali Mohammed Department of Postharvest Management
  • Eneyew Tadesse Department of Food Science and Applied Nutrition
Keywords: Bundle carrying; Field drying; Load tracking; Postharvest loss; Shattering

Abstract

Sesame is an important crop for the Ethiopian economy. However, poor postharvest
handling is a major problem that hampers exporting sufficient volume and quality of
the crop. This study was aimed at identifying major causes and critical loss points during
postharvest handling practices from maturity of the crop to before storage time. The study
was conducted using FAO’s 4S [screening of relevant data, surveying, sampling (load
tracking) and synthesis] approach mainly addressing the assessment and load tracking
approaches. The assessment study was conducted in East and Horro Guduru Wollega Zones
of Oromia region. Two districts from each Zones and three kebeles from each district were
purposively selected and totally 382 sesame producers were interviewed. For load tracking
approach to generate objective data, small (<5 hectares), medium (5-10 hectares) and larger
(>10 hectares) size farms were selected and estimated losses determined at each postharvest
activity. The estimated losses at each postharvest activity were determined in parallel with
estimating losses under farmers’ practice. The survey result revealed that the majority of the
farmers (55%) use capsule or pod color to determine the right time of harvesting and 90% of
them believed that shattering is the major cause of loss during harvest. About 95% of the
producers conducted field drying without using plastic or canvases, 90% of them did not use
wrapping materials during bundle transport to threshing sites. The results from load tracking
indicated that field drying (7.1%), pre-harvest shattering (4.7%), threshing/winnowing (3.5%)
and bundle carrying/ transport (1.6%) were major points of loss. The results revealed
aggregate loss of 17% only between maturity and storage (excluding storage losses). In
conclusion, late harvest, over drying (long duration of field drying), poor transport
mechanisms of the bundles to threshing site, incomplete threshing, and poor winnowing
were found to be the major causal factors for high post-harvest loss (PHL) of sesame. Field
drying, pre-harvest shattering and threshing activities have been identified as critical loss
points, which need technical intervention to tackle the poor postharvest handling practices
and minimize the losses.

Author Biographies

Kumera Neme, Department of Postharvest Management

Department of Postharvest Management, Jimma University, P.O. Box 307, Jimma, Ethiopia

Yetenayet B. Tola, Department of Postharvest Management

Department of Postharvest Management, Jimma University, P.O. Box 307, Jimma, Ethiopia

Ali Mohammed, Department of Postharvest Management

Department of Postharvest Management, Jimma University, P.O. Box 307, Jimma, Ethiopia

Eneyew Tadesse, Department of Food Science and Applied Nutrition

Department of Food Science and Applied Nutrition, Addis Ababa Science and Technology University, P.O. Box 16417, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Published
2020-01-01

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