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Abstract, Heliyon, 2019 August

One of the main challenges facing Ethiopia today is to ensure food security for its highly increasing population growth. Although the country's production is much lower than the national demand, there are high post-harvest food losses. Among several causes at different levels, absence of infrastructure plays a critical role in quantitative and qualitative losses of mainly fruit, vegetable, root and tuber crops. This study was initiated to investigate impact of two different production areas having different road access on qualitative and quantitative loss of potato tuber in extended storage time. Load tracking approach was used by simulating existing postharvest handling and storage practice of potato tuber in the study area. Quantitative post-harvest loss assessment along the supply chains, qualitative loss and shelf life estimation at retail market were investigated using standard methods. Results showed that more mechanical damages and seepage loss were observed in case of poor road quality and transportation. During extended storage time (30 days) at ambient environment, potato tubers transported from Dedo to Jimma resulted in high average weight loss (17.9 ± 0.9%), significant loss in firmness (7.0 ± 0.6N in average) and average vitamin C content of 9.20 ± 0.05mg/100g as compared to tubers transported from Seka to Jimma market. This implies that, lack of good road access and transportation facility contributed for more external mechanical damages and internal injuries which will critically enhance rate of degradation of tubers in later stages of storage.

Keywords: Agriculture, Food science, Potato tuber, Post-harvest handling, Storage, Quantitative and qualitative loss