Evaluation of a low-cost energy-free evaporative cooling system for postharvest storage of perishable horticultural products produced by smallholder farmers of Umsinga in KwaZulu-Natal.
Nkolisa, Ntombizandile Sylvia.
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In this study, a low-cost energy-free evaporative cooling system for postharvest storage of perishable horticultural was investigated. The evaporative cooler is a cost effective, energy free and easy to maintain way of cooling fruit and vegetables. It is basically what smallholder farmers can use as a postharvest storage condition to maintain their fruits and vegetables. However, before the evaporative cooling system was selected, the area of Umsinga where the cooler was installed was studied. The first chapter is a general introductory chapter, which clearly explains problem statement, has justification, hypothesis and outlines the aims and objectives. The second chapter is a review of literature which gives a broad idea of cooling technologies used to preserve quality and reduce postharvest losses on horticultural products. Consequently, it also gives an overview of the causes of postharvest losses. The third chapter of the study assesses vegetable postharvest loss challenges of smallholder farmers in the rural area of Umsinga in KwaZulu-Natal. The assessment was carried out as survey questionnaires. The fourth chapter of the study was evaluating the evaporative cooling system as an energy-free method for postharvest storage of tomatoes for smallholder farmers. The fifth chapter is evaluating the effect of different storage conditions on biochemical quality of tomatoes. The last chapter of the study is chapter six which has the general discussion, conclusion and recommendations.