Cold storage facilities come in many different forms but has one same goal, prolonging the shelf life of the products stored. In this day and age freshness of a crop is crucial in selling it to the market. Fresh and quality goods brings high profit to farmers. It can help boost a country’s economy. Unfortunately lack of knowledge about the idea can lead to a lot of spoils when in comes to the post-harvest process.
The Waste of Crops
Due to lack of cold storage facilities tons of high value crops are wasted. Over a million worth of investments wasted because of failure to do so. Extending a crops’ shelf life is crucial to ensure maximum profit. At times, even when crops have the same ideal storage temperature, they should not be stored together. Some crops (mainly true fruits) produce high levels of ethylene, the ripening hormone which can affect the fast ripening process of the crops it is with thus decreasing its shelf life. These could reduce the quality of crops by causing bitterness, softening, discoloration and stem detachment. Commodities also differ in ideal relative humidity conditions. Most fruits and vegetables are composed of more than 80 percent water; therefore, the higher the relative humidity in the air surrounding the commodity during storage, the longer the shelf-life.
High Value Agricultural Commodities
In 2014 the Department of Agriculture prioritized 20 high value agricultural commodities. It means that to “those crops that have competitive returns on investment when traded in fresh, form alternative investment opportunities, they are characterized by defined regular or niche market or potential domestic and/or export markets, command high prices, with value added or are good foreign exchange earners. High-value commercial crops are also called non-traditional crops. They become low value when there is an oversupply of crops which can lower their price. All in all its value is dependent on its price. And in a country where agriculture is one of the biggest contributors in its economic growth maximum utilization of crop profit means a great opportunity to boost the economy.
Cold Chain Technology
The main reason for food waste is the lack of proper storage facilities to prolong its shelf life. Food loss starts as early as the postharvest stages. Cold storage facilities can help minimize post-harvest losses. Although it may not be considered as full solution to prevent spoilage but a duly accomplished cold chain network can be a great help from the point of harvest up until it reaches the consumers.
Cold chain technology represents the advancement in the protection of perishable goods. They are designed to manage and verify the real time temperatures and safety protocols around the refrigerated goods throughout the supply process. Over the years there has been an increase in the number of cold chain facilities in the country. This is cause by higher domestic consumption, mounting concerns over food safety. In this generation consumers prefer freshly produced goods rather than preserved so the demand for cooling storage has also escalated.
The primary segments of an integrated cold chain include:
Packing and cooling fresh food products,
Food processing (i.e. freezing of certain processed foods,
Cold storage (short or long term warehousing of chilled or frozen foods),
Distribution (cold transport and temporary warehousing under temperature controlled conditions) and
Marketing (refrigerated or freezer storage and displays at wholesale markets, retail markets and foodservice operations).
Policy makers in the agriculture, energy, education and food sectors must work together to promote the use of cold chain technology, improve logistics, maintenance, services, infrastructure, education and management skills, and create sustainable markets for the design, use and funding of cold chains for reducing perishable food losses.
In the Philippines the Department of Agriculture together with the Department of Science and Technology are two agencies that leads research and implementation of cold chain technology. Under the Department of Agriculture is the Bureau of Plant Industry which regulates the production of high value crops and ensures its safety from farm to market process in its High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP). Their priority commodities are:
Highland, Lowland, Spices, Legumes
Mango, Banana, Pineapple, Others
Coffee, Cacao, Rubber
Alternative Food Staple Crops
Saba-Cardaba, Soybean, Rootcrops
The government implemented these projects through the High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP). With its mission to empower the farmers especially the high value crops producers and attain food sufficiency and economic growth. They want to achieve the goal of increasing production, income and livelihood opportunities among small producer and have access to affordable, safe and healthy food for the consumers.
As of now the Philippines is coping up with other countries when it comes exporting perishable goods internationally, with this in mind the demand for storage facilities are escalating. Storing crops as crucial to attain consumer demand and lowering food losses. As per demand of the market fresh products needs to be handled accordingly to avoid spoilage. Cold storage facilities are considered essential for storing and preserving perishable products such as fish, meat, vaccines, cakes, fruits and vegetables. Cold storage facilities help prolong the shelf life of crops. Even Senator elect Cynthia Villar, current chair of the Senate committee on agriculture and food, also acknowledged the vital role the cold chain companies would play in expanding agribusiness. At these time everyone is conscious about health that is why preservation of freshness of food is considered very important.
Dy, R. (2018). The hard truth about high-value crops. Business World.
HIGH VALUE CROPS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM. (2016, April 18). Retrieved from Bureau of Plant Industry: http://bpi.da.gov.ph/bpi/index.php/hvcdp
Jerusalem, J. ( 2016, 06 09). Retrieved from Inquire.Net: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/789901/cold-storage-sector-to-go-hot-due-to-dutertes-big-agri-boost-villar
KOK, F. (2017, June 15). AEB. Retrieved from https://www.aeb.com/intl-en/magazine/cold-chain-logistics-philippines.php
Mopera, L. E. (2016). Food Loss in the Food Value Chain:. Journal of Developments in Sustainable Agriculture, 8-16.