By SENIORL ANZU of NARI
The loss of value in marketable sweet potato or kaukau in mainland PNG happens at all points of the supply chain from farms in the Highlands to markets in Lae and
A stakeholder workshop on ‘Towards Better Kaukau Supply Chain in PNG’, which started at NARI Headquarters in Lae today, was told that such losses happened due to damages during handling and transportation.
A survey participant, Ronald Pam (pictured), told the stakeholders that some of the obvious damages were skinning, broken root and rotten tubers.
“Lots of damages occur at loading and unloading,” he said.
“Major impacts lead to lots of broken root.
“This then result in lots of rotten tubers that can not be sold (soft rot) at the markets.”
Such damages affect the value of kaukau when they appear at the market place.
The survey identified that causes included rough handling, different packaging methods, and transportation-related problems derived from handling and high humidity.
Pam, who works for FPDA, said damage starts on-farm from rough handling and this built up further down the chain.
He said according to the survey, the number of broken roots increased through transportation - due to loading and unloading.
In introducing the workshop, Prof Barbara Chambers of the
Prof Chambers said the meeting was to inform stakeholders about recent research outcomes on the present scenario of kaukau supply chain from
She said the farmers, transporters, researchers and other industry players were expected to discuss issues relating to adding value and post-harvest management of kaukau.
Specific information required through the consultation are on the level of village training, research/product development, training needs and resources, additional research needs and new interventions on kaukau marketing efficiency, post-harvest management and value addition.
“To get the produce to
“While kaukau temperature is normally 20-30C, temperatures can be as high as 37C+ in containers, and these have a large impact on shelf life.
“We now know where the damage is occurring and what is causing it.”
He suggested to workshop participants to identify strategies to minimise the problems, and specifically to look at options for reducing damage in on-farm handling, packing bags, packaging types, curing (to make the kaukau tougher and more resilient), and reducing delays in transit – getting the product there in time.
The workshop was part of a major research project undertaken by PNG and Australian organisations to find avenues that can reduce post-harvest losses and improve quality out-turn of kaukau; thus helping farmers increase their household incomes.
The study, which commenced in 2008, is funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).
It primarily emerged after the need for research on post-farmgate marketing/post-harvest of sweet potato in
The local collaborating organisations include NARI, FPDA and a Mt Hagen- based NGO - Rural Women’s Development Initiative - while the Australian counterparts are the