Postharvest Standard Operating Procedures: The basis for loss reduction, new trading systems, financing and training

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterProfessional


Standard Operating Procedures for the postharvest handling of fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce food losses and can be designed to fit food systems of any kind of development. Food systems that include smallholders as well as emerging middle-sized farmers or large corporations. They can be designed to fit any kind of market type/-requirements/-distance or transport transit time. They also form the basis for innovative developments in the sector.
These postharvest SOPs, with a scope from harvest planning until supply to the final B2B client (market, wholesale or retail), involve technical applications, but also handling procedures, responsibilities, time- and temperature management and meeting market requirements. they can be extended with data registration procedures for certification and traceability if so required.
Following (near) optimal conditions for perishables in terms of temperature, time and handling, significantly reduce product damages and spoilage, increase shelf life and increase the distance of markets to which can be supplied.
Standardization of postharvest handling leads to consistency in quality and supply.
Postharvest SOPs form the basis for any new form of trade- and marketing system that can be introduced like for example E-Commerce or replacing traders and middlemen for Logistical Service Providers (LSPs).
In the case of E-commerce, the buyer wants to rely on receiving the quality he expects without a physical inspection of the produce. SOPs form the basis for that.
In the case of LSP, the farmer keeps ownership of the produce during the handling and shipping process and must rely on the LSP to handle his/her products correctly. SOPs are the tool for that and can include data registration actions to make them suitable for Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)/ blockchain application in the fresh fruit and vegetable commerce that includes smart contracts for automated payments. Once this is in place, farmers build a fully reliable commercial track record which can be used by banks or funds to finance investments based on track-record, rather than on collateral. That leads to an innovative and reliable financing system, can be fully automated, is suitable for any investment level and is very scalable.
Postharvest SOP development is for this reason the basis for innovative developments in marketing farmer produce and financing investments in the food supply chain.
The SOPs also form the basis for standardization of training on postharvest handling and dissemination of postharvest knowledge in value chains, all contributing to food loss reduction.
Wageningen University and Research (WUR) is involved in the development of SOPs for fruit and vegetable crops in several countries, including their use for DLT/blockchain applications and training.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2021
Event3rd All Africa Postharvest Congress and Exhibition - Nairobi, Kenya
Duration: 13 Sept 202116 Sept 2021
Conference number: 3


Conference3rd All Africa Postharvest Congress and Exhibition
Abbreviated titleAAPHCE


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