Paper presented at the 31st Annual Southern African Transport Conference 9-12 July 2012 "Getting Southern Africa to Work", CSIR International Convention Centre, Pretoria, South Africa.
The agricultural sector is one of the largest economic sectors in South Africa. Damage to fresh produce during transportation and handling decreases the value of the products of this sector and it increases logistics costs. Bad road conditions cause more damage to produce and it increases the maintenance cost of vehicles used to transport produce from growers to distributors. Perishable commodities such as fruits and vegetables are sensitive to a variety of factors including temperature, atmospheric gasses and vibrations induced during transportation. All of these factors affect the quality of the fresh produce that reaches the consumer.
This paper focuses on damage to fresh produce caused as a result of exposure to different vibrations during transportation. As the riding quality of roads deteriorates more vibrations are experienced and the possibility of damage to produce is increased. Vibrations induced during transportation of produce on different road conditions are evaluated. It is expected that more vibrations would be induced on gravel roads than national and provincial roads in the Limpopo province of South Africa.