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Reducing post-harvest losses in South Asia's mango orchards

April 29, 2016

India is responsible for nearly 70% of the world's mango production, but post-harvest losses, due to factors such as poor handling, transport, and processing, can be as high as 35%. In addition, farmers often receive a low price for their crop because of market glut.

To address these issues, scientists from Canada, India, and Sri Lanka have been testing the use of a bio-compound called hexanal—an artificially synthesized version of a natural substance produced by injured plants to reduce post-harvest losses.

Spraying a small concentration of hexanal in mango orchards has been found to delay the ripening of the fruit by an extra three weeks, enabling farmers to earn up to 15% more for their crop.

Once the crop is harvested, hexanal-sprayed mangoes also have a much longer shelf life—up to 26 days in cold storage and 17 days at room temperature. This allows the fruit to be exported to more distant, better paying markets.

Special boxes have also been designed which contain hexanal-impregnated banana fibres; using these to transport the fruit also retains their quality for much longer.

Read the story of change: Reducing post-harvest losses in mango in South Asia​ (PDF, 506 KB).

This document is a part of a Stories of Change series that shares some of the emerging gender outcomes from research supported in Asia by the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund.