Lesson 13. Paddy straw - Cushioning material for fruits and vegetables

13.1. Introduction

India is a land of large varieties of fruits and vegetables due to its vast soil and climatic diversity. With 38 and 71 million tons of production of fruits and vegetables, India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables next to Brazil and China respectively. It is also a matter of concern that there is a wide gap between availability and the per capita nutritional requirement of fruits. The low availability of quality fruits and vegetables is mainly due to considerably high post harvest losses, poor transportation facilities, improper storage and low processing capacity coupled with the growing population.

Around 20-30 % losses take place during harvesting, grading, packaging, transportation and marketing of fruits. The fruits of increased production of fruits and vegetables and other agricultural produce will be realized only when they reach the consumer in good condition and at a reasonable price.  The existing post harvest loss of fruits and vegetables could be considerably reduced by adopting improved packaging, handling and efficient system of transport. Packaging of fruits and vegetables is undertaken primarily to assemble the produce in convenient units for marketing and distribution.

13.2. Paddy straw as a cushioning material

Cushioning was done by keeping the cushioning materials between rows of fruits and layers of fruits inside the boxes. The function of cushioning materials is to fix the fruits and vegetables inside the packages and prevent them from damaging, when there is a vibration and impact.

L 13 fig.13.2

For the cushioning materials to be useful it should, in addition to have resilient property the availability to dissipate the heat of respiration of the produce. It should be free from infection so that it does not pass on the same to the fruit and vegetables. The cushioning material used in wooden boxes for packaging of fruits mainly consists of paddy straw and newspaper. The compaction resistance and resiliency of paddy straw makes it a very good cushioning material.

13.3. Precautions during packing

  • Containers should not be filled either too loosely or too tightly because loose products may vibrate against each other and cause bruising

  • While over-packing results in compression bruising

  • Proper filling along with cushioning material can minimize bruising¬† damage

Last modified: Tuesday, 29 April 2014, 8:20 AM