Postharvest, one of the main dishes that will be addressed in the International Blueberry Month
"The postharvest begins in the preharvest", is the phrase that researcher Bruno Defilippi has repeated for years and every year this phrase makes more sense, not because it has not been heard and should be repeated madly, but because the blueberry has radically changed its management reality by spreading its cultivation to different regions of the world.
A few decades ago we talked about a crop with classic agricultural and technical management, in soil, with conventional irrigation and fertilizer or nutritional treatments with products that no longer exist or are prohibited. In addition to its commercialization in closer markets and with a less demanding demand, which has radically changed.
Currently the blueberry is also grown in other technological systems, such as hydroponics, with new fertilizer and nutritional products, less aggressive with the environment or simply innocuous, and in climates and geographies that years ago were unthinkable, such as plantations in the middle of the desert, in tropical climates, or those lacking in water resources, so that, although it is maintained that the optimal life of the fruit in post-harvest is guaranteed by the appropriate handling in the pre-harvest stage, the variables for this to occur have multiplied, therefore It is necessary to choose very well the suitable alternatives for each cultivation reality, even for each specific garden or farm.
In Latin America, more than 400 thousand tons of food are wasted and almost 80% of these losses occur in the stages directly linked to the production and marketing process, that is, in the post-harvest stage. The cause of this waste is due to biological and physical factors, and is linked to causes directly related to handling and logistics, either due to the lack of an adequate infrastructure to guarantee the ideal conditions of the product, or due to the long distances of distribution and final consumption centers, such as fruit, and specifically blueberries.
New technologies are constantly being developed that allow the reduction of these losses and these are very diverse, ranging from the genetic improvement of plants to achieve a longer and more productive life after harvest, to the development of new productive management, such as the use of crop protection or coverage systems to mitigate aggressive climatic effects resulting from climate change. There are other important advances, such as the use of substrates and hydroponic systems and the control of fungal diseases or pathogens, in the perspective of a production of healthier and safer products and, above all, friendly to the environment, as the current demand International demands it.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), losses occur in the stages prior to the fruit reaching consumers and correspond to 50% of the total, on the other hand, the demand for the Consumption of blueberries and other Latin American export fruits continues to grow and increase, so the industry not only faces the challenge of reducing these losses, but must be more productive and above all, produce better quality fruit for a better increasingly demanding and informed international demand, which forces us to face this challenge with multiple tools and processes, in an interdisciplinary strategy that is becoming more and more complex.
International Blueberry Month
For this reason, and because the industry in its different facets and realities needs it, in the International Blueberry Month, which takes place annually in August, the postharvest stage in the blueberry production process will be comprehensively addressed by the most varied and recognized experts from different related disciplines, such as Claudia Moggia, Jéssica Rodríguez, Paula del Valle, Reinaldo Campos and Professor Bruno Defilippi, who will analyze the postharvest potential, harvest frequency, weight loss, firmness, dehydration, quality parameters, innovative technologies to preserve quality and condition of the fruit, firmness in varieties, and a complete analysis of the postharvest technologies currently used, among other aspects.
In addition, at the international event in August, a score of international experts will address in depth the most diverse and important aspects related to the global blueberry industry in its handling and cultivation, and what is related to the demand in world markets.
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