Postharvest losses of fruits and vegetables in Vietnam and Cambodia are very high. In Vietnam, postharvest losses are estimated at 20-25 percent for fruits and more than 30 percent for vegetables. Cambodian vegetable losses have been reported at higher rates than in Vietnam. Postharvest losses include not only quantitative losses, but also losses in quality caused by improper handling and contamination from microbes and pesticides that impacts the nutritional value and safety of fresh produce.
Led by Robert Paull of the University of Hawaii, this international team works to evaluate current capacity and needs with respect to postharvest handling and quality, to strengthen the capacity of Vietnamese and Cambodian growers and marketers to reduce losses and improve quality in fruits and vegetables. The team's objectives are:
- Conduct a site visit to Vietnam and Cambodia to meet with potential research and training counterparts to determine capacity building needs that address postharvest losses;
- Meet with potential commercial Vietnamese and Cambodian partners to determine their current handling practices and possible approaches to assist them in maintaining quality and safety;
- Determine what postharvest publications are available in Vietnamese and Khmer on fresh fruit and vegetables; and
- Select postharvest leaders for short course training in the United States and to obtain additional training on postharvest quality evaluation and safe handling training in Hawaii.