Study bares huge post-harvest losses

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna: The study "Analysis of Fruit and Vegetable Value Chains in the Philippines" funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has revealed billions of pesos in post-harvest losses along the value chains of onions, tomatoes and mangoes.

The study was conducted by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (), which is headquartered at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, and whose results focused on the three crops.

According to the study, the total post-harvest loss of freshly harvested onions from farms in Bongabon town in Nueva Ecija province in Region 3 (Central Luzon) to the final market in Divisoria in Manila was 45.06 percent, with an estimated volume of post-harvest losses for red onions reaching 48,891 tons and a value close to P1.96 billion.

With the same route, the study said post-harvest losses for the cold-stored onion chain totaled 63.90 percent, with estimated volume and value lost at 69,333 tons and nearly P4.01 billion, respectively.

On the other hand, Nueva Ecija's freshly harvested tomatoes traded in Manila incurred a post-harvest loss of 10.94 percent. with a volume of post-harvest losses that reached 1,930 tons with a value of P47 million.

In Bukidnon province in Northern Mindanao, the total post-harvest loss of freshly harvested tomatoes from the farm to the final market in Manila was much higher at 24.14 percent because of longer travel duration.

Here, the study showed there was an estimated volume of post-harvest losses of 41,125 tons and value close to P180 million.

For mangoes, the study also revealed that mangoes produced in Iloilo and traded in Manila showed the highest post-harvest losses at 33.89 percent while the Pangasinan-Manila route ranked second at 30.85 percent and Guimaras-Negros Occidental route ranked third at 19.02 percent.

Notably, the study said, a Guimaras mango corporation that observes good agricultural practices posted the lowest post-harvest losses at 11 percent in shipping the crop to Manila.


It also showed that the post-harvest losses in terms of volume and value indicate a significant reduction in marketable supply and income of key actors in the mango supply chain.

According to the study, Pangasinan province registered the highest volume at 31,581 tons and value at P1.595 million of post-harvest losses when its mangoes are traded in Manila because it has higher mango production than other provinces.

Iloilo, with the same destination, came in second with volume and value of post-harvest losses at 8,682 tons and P434 million, respectively.

The results of the study were presented at a recent virtual national policy forum jointly organized by and SyCip Gorres Velayo and Company with Dr. Marlo Rankin, agricultural value chain and market expert, and Dr. Flordeliza Lantican, agricultural value chain and market specialist, as presenters.

They presented the study results, which focused on the post-harvest losses quantified along the value chain of the three crops.

said there were key recommendations in reducing post-harvest losses for onions, mangoes and tomatoes.

These are investing in cold storage and packing facilities, providing delivery vehicles to facilitate the transport of goods, developing online trading or digital marketing in partnership with the private sector, increasing access to credit and insurance and strengthening extension services at the grassroots level.

During the forum, Evelyn Laviña, Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary for High Value Crops and Rural Credit, said onions, tomatoes and mangoes are staples in Filipino cuisine and to improve post-harvest handling efficiency, these should be given significant attention and funding.

Dr. Takeshi Ueda, Principle Natural Resources and Agriculture Specialist at ADB's Southeast Asia Department, said the study is relevant to the directions of both the DA and the ADB in agricultural diversification, industrialization, modernization and commercialization.

Also during the forum, Director Glenn Gregorio delivered a message, which was read by Deputy Director Joselito Florendo, noting that the coronavirus pandemic enabled people to realize the significance of the whole value chain process because food supply is not limited only to production.

"Onions, tomatoes, mangoes and other high-value crops should be upscaled. There is also a need to invest in them to ensure that the Philippines will have a future-proof agriculture sector," he said.