1.1 1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Tomato (Lycopersiconesculentum Mill.) is one of the vegetables with the highest production in the world and its production is increasing all over the world. Tomato is rich in minerals, vitamins, essential amino acids, sugars and dietary fibers (Ayandiji et al., 2011). World tomato production in 2001 was about 105 million tons of fresh fruit from an estimated 3.9 million ha. As it is a relatively short duration crop and gives a high yield, it is economically attractive and the area under cultivation is increasing daily. Tomato belongs to the Solanaceae family. This family also includes other well-known species, such as potato, tobacco, peppers and eggplant. Tomatoes contribute to a healthy, well-balanced diet. They are rich in minerals, vitamins, essential amino acids, sugars and dietary fibres. Tomato contains much vitamin B and C, iron and phosphorus. Tomato fruits are consumed fresh in salads or cooked in sauces, soup and meat or fish dishes. They can be processed into purées, juices and ketchup. Canned and dried tomatoes are economically important processed products. Tomato is an annual plant, which can reach a height of over two metres. In South America, however, the same plants can be harvested for several years in succession. The first harvest is possible 45-55 days after flowering, or 90-120 days after sowing. The shape of the fruit differs per cultivar. The colour ranges from yellow to red. In Ethiopia, tomato is one the important and widely grown vegetable crops. Both in rainy and dry seasons for their fruits by smallholder farmers and commercial state and private farm in Ethiopia (Ambecha et al.,2012;MoA,2013;AVRDC,2014).It is also a source of basic raw material required for fresh consumption and local processing industry for the production of processed Tomato like Tomato paste, Tomato juice and etc.(EIA,2008). Lemma et al. (2003) indicated that the total production of Tomato in Ethiopia has shown market increase ,indicating that it has became the most profitable crop providing a higher income to small scale farmers compared to other vegetable crops.However,average yield of Tomato in Ethiopia is low,ranging from 6.5-24 metric ton/ha(Ambecha et al.,2012)as compared with average yields of 51,41,36 and 34 metric tonne/ha in America,Europe,Asia and the entire world, respectively (FAOSTAT,2010).The national average of Tomato seed yield under farmers ‘conditions in Ethiopia is also very low, estimated at about 1.2 quintals /ha (Lemma,2002). Seeds are one of the least expensive but most important factors influencing yield potential. Crop seeds contain all the genetic information to determine yield potential, adaptation to environmental conditions, and resistance to insect pest and disease. Increasing agricultural production through the use of high quality seed, among other agricultural inputs, has become essential for providing enough food for rising number of people in the world (Barsa, 2006). Seed produced under controlled condition is likely to be higher yielding and is less likely to harbor pathogen than locally produced seeds (Rice et al., 1990; Barsa, 2006). Seed quality is determined by many factors, principally seed purity and germination. However, many other factors, Such as the variety, presence or absence of seed-borne disease, vigor of the seed, and seed size are important when considering seed purchase. Seed lots that have low germination also are less vigorous due to seed deterioration .As seeds deteriorate,loss of vigor proceeds loss of viability,so seeds with low germination usually will be less vigorous.Hence,in seed lots with poor germination, those seeds that do germinate often produce weakerseedlings with reduced yield potential (Barsa ,2006;Nemati et al.,2010). According to lemma (2002) ,the major production constraints of Tomato production in Ethiopia are shortage of varaties and recommended package of information ,unknown source and poor quality seeds, poor irrigation system, lack of information on soil fertility ,disease and insect pests ,high post-harvest loses, lack of awareness of existing improved technologies and poor marketing system. Supplying of high quality seeds is the basic requirement and it contributes greatly to the success of any crop. Various researchers (Gutterman, 1992; Uniyal et al., 2011) have reported variation in seed quality among population in some plant species to have been attributed to differences in environmental condition of mother-plant. Many cultural practices such as types of nutrient, water supply, and harvesting methods are also believed to be factors influencing both pre- and postharvest quality of tomato (Melkamu, 2008). Many postharvest quality losses are as a result of many pre-harvest factors. Controlling the number of flowers, fruits, or fruit trusses in tomatoes is an effective way of reducing the competition between fruits. Water loss from harvested fruit produce is predominantly caused by the amount of moisture present in the ambient air expressed as relative humidity (Suslow, et al 2009). Respiration and metabolic activities within harvested climacteric fruits like tomatoes are directly related to the temperatures of the ambient environment. High temperatures can hasten the rate of respiration (CO2 production) in harvested or stored fruits products. Seed yield and quality of Tomato is mainly dependent on the variety selected for seed production (George, 1999). A number of improved varieties and other agronomic packages have been recommended to the users to overcome the low productivity and quality of Tomato in the country. According to MoA (2013), Ethiopian National Agricultural System (NARS) has released about 25 Tomato varieties till 2013.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Many agricultural practices such as types of nutrient, water supply, and harvesting methods are also believed to be factors influencing both pre- and postharvest quality of tomato (Melkamu, 2008). Many postharvest quality losses are as a result of many pre-harvest factors. Controlling the number of flowers, fruits, or fruit trusses in tomatoes is an effective way of reducing the competition between fruits. Water loss from harvested fruit produce is predominantly caused by the amount of moisture present in the ambient air expressed as relative humidity (Suslow, et al 2009). Respiration and metabolic activities within harvested climacteric fruits like tomatoes are directly related to the temperatures of the ambient environment. High temperatures can hasten the rate of respiration (CO2 production) in harvested or stored fruits products. It is in view of this that the researcher intend to investigate the effect of post-harvest handling quality and marketability of tomato in Akwa Ibom state.
1.3 1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to ascertain the effect of post-harvest handling on the quality and marketability of locally harvested tomato in Akwa Ibom state. But for the successful completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following objective;
i) To ascertain the effect of post-harvest handling on the quality of locally harvested tomato
ii) To ascertain if there is any relationship between post-harvest handling quality and the marketability of the product
iii) To ascertain the impact of post-harvest handling technique on the durability of the product
iv) To investigate the handling technique that aid easy marketability of the product
1.4 1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0:there is no significant effect of post-harvest handling technique on the quality of the tomato
H1:there is a significant effect of post-harvest handling technique on the quality of the tomato
H0:there is no significant relationship between post-harvest handling technique and the marketability of tomato
H2:there is a significant relationship between post-harvest handling technique and the marketability of tomato.
1.5 1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
At the completion of the study, the finding will be of great importance to the ministry of agriculture as the study seeks to elaborate on better ways of handling tomato after harvest to minimize the rate of breakages and loss. The study will also be of great importance to farmers as the study seek to proffer solution to effective post-harvest handling technique of the agricultural product.The study will also be of great benefit to students of the department of agriculture and crop science in educating them on better post-harvest handling technique. Finally the findings of this study will also be immense benefit to government, academia, scholars, researchers and the general public.
1.6 1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers the effect of post-harvest handling technique on the quality and marketability of locally harvested tomato in Akwa Ibom state. In the course of the study, there are some factors which limited the scope of the study;
a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.
b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
c) FINANCE: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The tomato is the edible fruit of Solanumlycopersicum commonly known as a tomato plant, which belongs to the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The species originated in Central and South America. The Nahauti (Aztec language) word tomatl gave rise to the Spanish word "tomate", from which the English word tomato originates.Numerous varieties of tomato are widely grown in temperate climates across the world, with greenhouses allowing its production throughout the year and in cooler areas. The plants typically grow to 1–3 meters (3–10 ft) in height and have a weak stem that often sprawls over the ground and vines over other plants. It is a perennial in its native habitat and grown as an annual in temperate climates. An average common tomato weighs approximately 100 grams (4 oz). It's use as a food originated in Mexico and spread throughout the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas. Tomato is consumed in diverse ways, including raw, as an ingredient in many dishes, sauces, salads and drinks. While tomatoes are botanically berry-type fruits, they are considered culinary vegetables being ingredients of savory meals
Harvesting is the process of gathering a ripecrop from the fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle or reaper. On smaller farms with minimal mechanization, harvesting is the most labor-intensive activity of the growing season.
In agriculture, postharvest handling is the stage of crop production immediately following harvest, including cooling, cleaning, sorting and packing. The instant a crop is removed from the ground, or separated from its parent plant, it begins to deteriorate.
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (background of the study), statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope of the study etc. Chapter two being the review of the related literature presents the theoretical framework, conceptual framework and other areas concerning the subject matter. Chapter three is a research methodology covers deals on the research design and methods adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.THE EFFECT OF POST-HARVEST HANDLING ON THE QUALITY AND MARKETABILITY OF LOCALLY HARVESTED TOMATO