Postharvest science focuses mainly on the quality of fresh produce.
One of the areas of interest is the shipment of tomatoes using road transport.
Because tomatoes have a limited shelf life, it is vital to control the factors that
lead to early deterioration of the quality of the product. Logistical operations
can cause numerous forms of cuts and bruises on harvested tomatoes which
compromise their quality and appearance. For this experiment, the in-transit
conditions were monitored on trucks shipping tomatoes from three farms in
Limpopo, South Africa to the fresh produce market in Pietermaritzburg. This
research attempts to create a model that relates tomato damage and loss in shelf
life to the road condition, fruit ripeness and position in the container. With this
information in hand, logistic planners can make informed decisions during
route planning. Transportation cost can be weighed against the cost of losses of
produce during transportation. Similar models can be developed to include
other types of fruits and vegetables.