Post Harvest Care:

(1)   Dry the produce to the required level of moisture to prevent the attack of microorganisms and attack of weevils and deterioration in quality.

(2)   Safe moisture level for foodgrains and oilseeds-

           Commodity                                                                   Moisture % by weight

Wheat, Jowar, Bajra, Ragi,Pulses and Maize                                                           12%

Paddy and Rice                                                                               14%

Parboiled Rice                                                                                 15%

Oilseeds                                                                                            6 to 8 %

(3)   Minimise organic and inorganic foreign matter, immature, shrivelled and broken grains to reduce the refraction and improve the grade and storability and to receive a price commensurate with the quality. Mechanised cleaning  and sorting are in practice to under take the cleaning operations

(4)   Produce should be free from the adulteration. Under PFA Act, maximum tolerance limit for food grains has been fixed beyond which the commodity is deemed to be adulterated.

(5)   While preparing the commodity, grading is done on the basis of predetermined standards, so as to improve the marketability of the produce and ready acceptability by CWC, SWC, FCI or in Gramin Bhandaran Yojana.

(6)   Pack the produce in sound B Twill jute bags, totally free from any contamination, preferably in pretreated bags for preventing insect invasion.

(7)   FCI prescribes its standards for procuring and maintenance of stocks in respect of Paddy and Wheat, on year to year basis.

(8)   Avoid use of hooks while handling the produce at farm / market / during storage and transportation.

(9)   Use of non-permitted and colouring matter and dyes to improve the natural colour is prohibited, which is used to develop extra colour and appearance.

(10)           Fruits and vegetables must be harvested in harvesting bags / baskets and avoid contact with the soil. To remove the field heat the harvested produce must be kept under shade.

(11)           Use only potable water / chlorinated water for cleaning the fruits and vegetables.

(12)           Only sound fruits and vegetables should be graded and packed in hygienic manner.

(13)           Over stacking must be avoided at any stage of marketing.

(14)        Packing material must be hygienic and provided with required air exchange facility to maintain the shelf life of the packed fruits and vegetables.

(15)           Fruits and vegetables should be marketed in cold chain system.


       Agricultural commodities need preparation to improve marketability before they reach the market. Careful preparation not only reduces the marketing cost but also enables the farmer in fetching better price. The method and technique adopted for preparation of the commodities varies from produce to produce and determines the quality of the same.Therefore, the commodities should be prepared in such a way that it carries the maximum utility to the market and enables the producer for quick transactions. Preparation of some of the commodities has been discussed here under-

PADDY: Harvested plant should be bundled together and left in sun to dry. Grains may be separated by striking the bundle against a block of wood or by leaving them to be trampled by bullocks. Chaff, dust, lumps of mud, pebbles should be removed by winnowing it manually or mechanically. The paddy so obtained is clean and dry and ready for market or sold directly to the millers.

        Paddy so obtained may be subjected to parboiling before it is milled. Parboiling is a process of leaving the produce in water to soften and there after drying under steam to release the better quality of rice.

WHEAT: Wheat may be threshed mechanically or manually. In some of the states like Punjab,UP,MP,Haryana etc. combine is used for harvesting, threshing and winnowing.In manual system, harvested plants should be   sheaved and left in the sun to dry .When the grain is sufficiently dry, threshing operation  should be performed.The grains may be separated from the ears either by hand or by weighted  wood drawn by bullocks or allowed to be trampled under the hooves of the bullocks.The beaten stuff is then winnowed.The winnowed grains should be sieved ,heaped and is dressed.Such wheat is ready for moving to the market.

PULSES:  Crop should be manually harvested and  prepared sheaves are allowed to dry in the sun. Such dried sheaves should either be trampled or beaten against wooden plank to separate the grains from the pods, winnowed and collected grains be sieved to clean. The cleaned produce should be packed in gunny bags and brought to the market. However, redgram (Pigeon pea) should be subjected to hot water treatment before milling to remove the husk.


            Groundnut: After the pods have been collected, they should be usually dried in the sun till the nuts make a rattling sound and kernels get loose in the shell. In some places, undried pods are also brought to the market. The pods, thus collected, are either marked as groundnuts in shell or after a further process, called decortication.

             Rape ,Mustard and Soybean, : After harvesting ,sheaves  should be  dried in the sun and threshed by beating the seed bearing parts and thus seeds shatter out of the pods or dried plants be trampled under the hoofs of bullocks. After threshing and winnowing impurities are removed , the seeds should be collected in gunny bags. The produce is then ready to move to the market. Sometimes, produce is directly loaded on vehicles provided with polythene flooring and coverage to protect the same from rains.

             Cotton  (Kapas): Careful picking reduces most of the problems in the preparation of cotton for the market, ripe and unripe balls must be separated, foreign matters and trash be removed. Only one variety of cotton should be heaped and wrapped in gunny cloth. Sometimes cotton is directly loaded on carts having jute cloth to prevent the pilferage and also to avoid addition of moisture from any source during transportation. Cotton is shifted to the market in this manner.

            Spices: Preparation of some of the important spices is as follows-
Harvesting time in chillies is determined on the basis of the purpose for which it is grown.before drying, harvested produce should be heaped in shade for obtaining the uniform colour of the pods.the next day the fruits should be spread on the floor in layers of about 8to 10 cm. thickness and then left for first two days without stirring. On the third day, produce should be stirred for uniform exposure to sun.drying which may take 15to 20 days depending upon weather, variety and order of picking. Moisture should not be more than 10%.In the traditional method , open yard sun drying is in practice.Sometimes tarpaulin or HDPE sheets are used to prevent the exposure to rains.To prevent the  contamination from the soil, cemented floor or green tarpaulin should be  used .Mechanical drying using hot air is also very common.Farmers remove any visible foreign matter, discoloured pods, under size and curly pods and fungus infested pods.Dried pods are collected and heaped and packed in gunny bags during morning hours, when the temperature is relatively cooler to avoid breakage of the brittle chillies.

Seed spices: Since the moisture contents are around 20% at the time of harvest, the produce should be dried to a safe limit of 8% or below.

(a)    Coriander: Crop should be harvested at right maturity, when green colour changes to brown. The plant should be pulled out, bundled and dried in partial shade for

(b)   maintaining the colour and aroma of the seeds. Dried plants should be spread on the floor and threshed by beating with wooden stick. The stuff should be winnowed and cleaned. The cleaned produce should be packed in gunny bags and shifted to markets.

(c)    Cumin: Matured plants should be uprooted in the morning hours, carefully stocked and kept in sun for drying on the threshing floor for a day or two. The plant is beaten with bamboo stick or rubbed to remove the seeds from the plant. Seeds are winnowed and cleaned and packed in gunny bags and shifted to market.

(d)   Fennel: Since the entire crop do not mature at one time, the harvesting should be done 4to5 times.The umbels should be  dried in sun under partial shade for about 8to 10 days.The seeds should be  separated by beating the dried umbels with stick, then winnowed, cleaned and dried ,if necessary.The clean produce should be packed in gunny bags  and shifted to market.

(e)    Fenugreek: Plants are mostly harvested during early hours of the day, plants  plucked out and dried in sun. After drying, seeds are separated by beating the plant with stick. The seeds are winnowed, cleaned and dried ,the produce packed in gunny bags.

                    Every care should be taken while drying to avoid contamination. Safe moisture level prevents the development of moulds producing mycotoxins.Drying platforms  must be cemented and at raised level  to check the contamination of foreign matter.

Ginger: The end use of the produce decides the time of harvesting .For vegetable ginger rhizomes must be washed in water twice or thrice and sun dried for a day to remove the excess water. The rhizomes are packed in gunny bags and such produce is shifted to market.

                       Dry ginger should be prepared from well-matured rhizomes. Rhizomes should be soaked in water over night and then rubbed well to clean them .The outer skin of the cleaned rhizomes should be removed with bamboo splinters .The pealed rhizomes must be washed and dried in sun uniformly for one week. The ginger should be dried on clean surfaces or on bamboo mats to avoid contamination by any extraneous matter. Moisture should be 8to 10% to prevent the development of fungus. However, mechanised ginger dryers are also available to dry the produce. Quality wise, sun dried ginger is better than mechanically dried ginger.

                       Bleached ginger is prepared by dipping the scrapped fresh ginger in slaked lime. Dry ginger is available in either bleached or unbleached form.

Turmeric: Undamaged rhizomes should be washed to remove the soil sticking to them. Bulbs and fingers may be separated and also cured separately. Processing consists of cooking, drying and polishing. Cooking is done by putting raw rhizomes in suitable vessels and filling with water to cover the bulk and boiling. Cooking must be done carefully and  at the optimum level only. The frothing of the liquid and the release of the characteristic turmeric aroma indicate the optimum level.

                      The cooked rhizomes are usually dried in the sun on clean surface. During night times, the material should be heaped and covered. Drying may take 10 to 15 days. Properly dried rhizomes should be hard, brittle, uniform in colour and produce metallic sound on breaking.

                 If the appearance of the dried material is not uniform, the same should be improved by smoothening and polishing the outer surface by manual or mechanical rubbing .The rhizomes are also polished in power rotated drums. The mechanised low energy processing method gives more uniform product.

Fruit and vegetables: Fruit and vegetables being highly perishable and more prone to microbial attack needs every care in preparing the produce for market. In fact, preparation for market begins with the harvesting of fruit and vegetables itself. To prolong the marketing period, the contact of the produce with the soil should be avoided. Harvested produce should be kept on a tarpaulin or in plastic crates/ bamboo baskets under shade to remove the field heat. Damaged and diseased produce should be sorted out and washed with clean water or chlorinated water to remove the extraneous matter sticking on the surface. Produce should be given wax treatment( Only food grade waxes, such as Carnauba wax or Lac-resin or Shellac or food grade resin may be used ) along with fungicide or Talprolong treatment to enhance the shelf life and is wrapped in tissue paper or in clean paper and packed in well-ventilated CFB boxes or wooden boxes. While shifting the produce to market/ cold storage, it should be handled carefully and the stack height maintained properly to avoid vertical pressure on the produce.

                            Root vegetables should be properly washed and cleaned and bundled. Potato after harvesting should be allowed to remain in the field for some time to remove the extra moisture and to develop the proper peal. If potato is to be stored in cold storage, it must not be washed and bagged along with field soil. Only B Twill jute bag should be used for packing.

                   Onion after harvesting should be allowed for curing in about 18 inches high heaps for 2 to 3 days and sorted out for damaged, diseased and doubles or hard / woody stalk. The graded onion should be packed in only B Twill gunny bags and stored in well-ventilated storage structures at about 70 to 80% RH.

      (Good Agricultural Practices,  are to be strictly followed by the farmers to make the produce acceptable in the international markets.)


          The aim of packaging is to protect the product during handling, transportation and storage until the customer finally uses it. The type of packaging is determined by the nature of the product. It is function of the product, the package and environment through which the product is transported, stored and sold. The shelf life of a product is based on the protection required for the product under ideal packing and storage conditions.

PACKAGE: A bundle of items wrapped together, tied together or otherwise contained. A sealed wrapping or box for transportation and storage.

PACKAGING : the action of putting a product into a package or forming a package around a product or “an activity” which is concerned with protection, economy, convenience and promotional considerations.

PACKETTING: The packaging of products in small units, e.g. tea in teabags

Functions of packaging:

(1)   Containment

(2)   Protection

(3)   Identification

(4)   Convenience

(5)   Attractiveness

(6)   Promotional appeals

Packaging Characteristics:

(a)    Physical State

(b)   Weight

(c)    Stability

(d)   Rigidity

(e)    Surface Finish

(f)     Safety against moisture, mould and contamination

Attributes of good package:

(1) It must attract attention

(2) It must tell the product story- what it is , what size , how much

(3)It must build confidence

(4)   It must look clean and hygienic

(5)   It must be convenient to handle and  to carry

(6)   It must look like good value

(7)   It must deserve a preferred display

(8)   It must prevent spoilage during the selling period

(9)   It must resist soiling

Types of packages:

(1)   A Consumer Package

(2)   Bulk package

(3)   Dual use Package

Pre-Packaging: Packaging of the produce in consumer size unit packs. It makes the produce easy to handle and reduces transportation cost. Packaging films, polyethylene films find maximum use. Seal/ shrink wrap packaging. Consumer packages are bags, wraps, trays and baskets.

Compatibility and Safety: Compatibility between the contents and the pack is a very important feature. The situation may be –

(a)    Contact material pack picking up chemical entities from the solution of food.

(b)   Leaching or migration of additives and ethylene from polyethene etc.

(c)    Contamination from printing ink, paints etc.

Aseptic processing and packaging: thermal processing in food industry is carried out both to ensure sterility of food and to increase its palatability. Food quality is best preserved, when a high temperature short time (HTST) process is applied, since in the HTST process nutrient degradation is minimised while maintaining the same degree of sterilisation.

Packaging of Foodgrain & Oilseeds: Generally food grain and oilseeds are packed after proper cleaning, sorting and drying to a required level of moisture. Mostly ,gunny bags of jute with or without polyethene lining are used as packing material. These gunny bags may be pretreated with pesticide to prevent the pest invasion during storage or transportation.

Packaging of fruit and vegetables: Since fruit and vegetables are highly perishable in nature, every care is taken for packing and handling. Graded, sorted, cleaned and treated produce is packed in suitable packaging material.  Following are the methods for packing of fruit and vegetables—

(a)    Use of Ethylene Eliminator Pack, these packs removes unwanted ethylene gas produced by the produce. This is removed by using naturally occurring Zeolites packs, which can be directly placed in contact with the produce in all kinds of boxes/ also floral commodities. 

(b)   Use of permeable bags, vegetables are packed in permeable Bags, which helps in maintaining the oxygen transmission rate and shelf life is increased by 8-10 days. Vegetables may be packed in Hydro Cooling system where the produce is finally spin dried.

(c)    Modified Atmospheric Packaging or Controlled Atmospheric Packaging, by altering the atmosphere around fruit and vegetables, shelf life is injecting the gas mixture inside the container (Carbon dioxide, Nitrogen or combination) the rate of respiration is minimised and  the rate of ripening is also reduced.

(d)   Ethanol vapour generator  isused as antimicrobial agent prior to packing as surface sterilant. Also 3% formaldehyde is used as packing material sterilant, to check the source of microbial invasion.

(e)    Active packing, in active packing ethanol emitters and ethylene absorbents are used, either in packaging films or in containers.

(f)     Shrink Wrapping, also referred as Individual Sealing Packaging: the film is shrink wrapped tightly around each piece of produce. In this method transpiration rate is reduced substantially. L Sealer machines can seal 200 or more fruits per minutes.

(g) WATER PROOFING OF Corrugated Fiber Board (CFB)Boxes:-  CFB boxes  are made water proof  with the help of water resistant polymeric coatings(*)- It performs even better than any other material, it has following special features-

(a)    The chemical can be supplied in transparent or lightly coloured shades as per requirement.

(b)   Application is simple, high coverage, non-toxic and food grade.

(c)    No change in properties between – 45° to 150° C.

(d)   Environment friendly- the coating is biodegradable and coated paper can be recycled directly.

(e)    Coating is flexible –does not crack on folding.

Used for (a) F&V, flowers, tea, milk powder (b) export packing requiring recyclable waterproof coating.

  PLASTIC PACKAGING  -Special features-

(a)    Aroma retention.

(b)   Good package integrity.

(c)    Excellent shelf life.

(d)   Excellent protections against light, heat, wind and rain.

(e)    Excellent seal integrity for containment of product.

(f)     Good aesthetics and surface appearance.

(g)    Good moisture and gas barrier property.

(h)    Packaging also depends upon reuse of plastics.

Generally, plastic coated corrugated boxes are in practice. Sometimes vacuum packing, active packing, oxygen absorbents, and carbondioxide absorbents / emitters, ethylene absorbents are required, which depends upon the type of commodities.

          Packaging, under the WTO provisions should also be in accordance with the provisions of  Technical Barriers to Trade .In India, separate Packaged Commodity Rules ,1977, are required to be followed in packaging of food  packets.In India from the 1st September 2000 ,the “Best before ---Date “ on all packaged food has been made mandatory.

Bar Coding:-In India, Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) with the support of Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, introduced bar code technology., besides the product related information , package has also a tiny symbol comprised of few dark lines / bars with numbers printed beneath. In India , European Article Numbering (EAN) system has been adopted by the EAN, India, a registered organisation.Manufacturer obtains a company identification number  of 8 digits by registering with EAN India.The first three digits are a country  prefix which for India is 890.The following 5 digits are provided by EAN India to every organisation on registration.Using this 8 digit identification number the manufacturer can develop a 13 digit bar code number for each product, where-

1)      Country Code-890 (for India)

2)      Company / manufacturer code- 5 digits

3)      Product code-4 digits

4)      Check digt-1

Advantages of Bar Code system :- Data entry is done only once, 100 % accuracy in data processing, generation of automated billing, food product tracking and tracing and quick customer service.


(*For water proofing of Corrugate Fiber Board (CFB) Boxes- (a)M/S Meta-Chem Paints and Adhesives, Plot No-C-11, Unit No-8, NICE, SATPUR, Nashik-422007

(b) M/S Kalvi Polymers, 001- Sheetal Swami Samrath Nagar, Andheri (W), Mumbai-400053. E mail, swabs@ bom



      Keeping in view the seasonability and perishability of the produce, proper storage system has to be designed, which will regulate the entire distributive system.  In any economy, buffer stock is maintained to offset the impact of unforeseen situations, which again emphasises the need for scientific storage. As has been revealed by the studies conducted by this Directorate, the farmers at village level retain the major portion of the farm produces in the traditional storage system and only part of the farm produce ie., marketable surplus is channeled into the marketing stream.  The traditional storage system is not able to preserve and protect the farm produce from both quantitative as well as qualitative losses.  However, these losses may be minimised to greater extent by adopting scientific storage technology.

      Care required to be taken before receipt of produce for storage:

1)      Ensure that Godown is storage worthy to receive the stock – Godown should be damp proof, facilitate inspection and preservation of stored produce, allow controlled aeration and should be located in such places which are not deleterious to stored produce.

2)      Cleanliness of the Godown and its environment – it should provide protection again pests like insects, rodents, birds etc.

3)      Disinfestation of empty Godown – it should be disinfested with 50% Malathion EC, by preparing a solution with water in the ratio of 1:50 and spraying @ 3 litres per sq.meters,  or DDVP- 100 EC diluted in water in the ratio of 1:300 and sprayed only on the floor @ 3 litres per 1000 sq. metres.

In case godown is infested, it should be fumigated prior to storage with either EDB @ 0.75 kg.

          Per 1000 cu.ft or Alluminium.Phosphide @ 20 tablets per 1000 cu.ft.

4.      Dunnage: To protect the bottom layer of the stock from the moisture from the floor, to check the condensation and allow free circulation of air, wooden crate or bamboo mats/or tarpaulin should be used for the purpose. Dunnage should be cleaned thoroughly and disinfected with BHC/ Malathion and if necessary and fumigated after every use.

Care to be taken at the time of the receipt of the stock:

1)      Draw sample and check up the quality

2)      Bag to bag inspection

3)      Avoid haphazard dumping

4)      Check up the moisture contents

5)      As a prophylactic measure, spray/fumigate the stock.

Preparation of produce for storage:

a)      Farm produce should be  harvested only at the right maturity of the crop

b)      Harvested produce contains much foreign matter, weed seeds, other edible and non-edible food grains .  Therefore, proper cleaning is required before bagging the produce.

c)      Drying of the farm produce to reduce the inherent moisture to an acceptable limit of moisture.

d)      Grading of the produce on scientific lines.

e)      Bagging, as far as possible, to the new bags should be used and bags should be free from insect or microbial attack.  Bags may be treated with 1% Malathion for ten minutes and dried before using them for storage; this will check the insect infestation and also cross infestation. 

f)        Prophylactic treatment of storing places- ensure that the Godown is free from insect, microbes and rodents by fumigating the Godown with Cythion 50% spray per 100 sq.meter.  Storage Godown must be free from engineering defect.  Storage losses in bags and thekas range from 0 to 10% whereas in metallic bins it is reduced to 5% only.

Storage Losses-Control: Storage losses occur due to various factors as the produce is exposed to both animate and nonanimate forces, which determines the fate of the quality & quantity of the produce.  These factors may be grouped to:-

1)      Scientific (a) Physical- Temperature, Moisture, R H and Aeration

    (b) Chemical- Break down of produce and Pesticides

    (c) Biological-Microbes (fungi and bacteria), Insects,Rodents, Birds & Man

    (d)     Engineering:  Structural- Bag or Bulk storage, mechanical-handling and application of pesticides

(2)  Socio-economic: (a) Finance    (b) Farming Method-Indigenous, Mechanised, Plantation   (c) Storage and marketing methods.

            All the above factors play an important role in improving the shelf life and marketability of the farm produce.  Therefore, a regular inspection and proper maintenance of entire system must be under the supervision of the trained personnel.

                  Moisture if above the prescribed limit, will promote the microbial growth and also insect infestation.  However, pests are not able to breed in grains below 9% moisture.  Even the biochemical breakdown of the produce is hastened under high moisture contents.

                  Oil seeds breaths at a much faster rate than more fibrous cereals. The rate is reduced approximately one half by each 10°C reduction in temperature. Respiration being a self accelerating process is severely affected by changes in moisture, which moves from one location

to another due to temperature gradient or variable vapour pressure.  Foodgrains have low thermal conductivity, thus the heat produced is accumulated, and also outside temperature fluctuation does not readily penetrate grain stored in large quantities.  The volume occupied by the grain is also affected by its moisture content, eg. Grain at 22% moisture occupies 0.22 cubic meter more of space per  tonne than grain at 12%.  Mycotoxin levels are higher in jowar than rice.  In coastal areas samples show higher level of aflatoxins as well as high degree of insect invasion due to high moisture content.  There is a decrease in protein, free amino nitrogen and beta amylase and protease activity.  Among B-Complex vitamin losses in thiamin is also observed.

                  Storage of unthreshed grain is more successful than threshed one because of damage to the seed coat, which occurs during threshing.  Insects readily attack immature or green grains because the husk is loose and outer covering of the grain is not well developed.


1)      Metallic Bins: Bins made of galvanised sheets in different shapes and size are in common use even for storage of food grains for domestic consumption.

2)      RCC Bins: Such bins are mostly used for storing huge quantity of Foodgrains/oilseeds at farm level.

3)      Silos:  A Mechanised unit for handling and safe storage of food grains/oil seeds on large scale.  This facility is available near major food grains/oil seeds producing areas.

(Farmers may avail the disinfestation services provided by the CWC/SWC for improving the shelf life and protecting the stored farm produce from pest invasion at their farm level storage system) 

4)      Gramin Bhandaran Yojana:  Storage godowns constructed under this scheme are used for storage of farm produce at the village level.  The Directorate of Marketing and Inspection, Government of India, is running this scheme.  Facility of 20 lakh tones capacity of rural godowns has already been created.  It has been proposed that during the remaining four years of tenth plan, additional capacity of 65 lakh MT of new construction and 5 lakh MT of renovation of cooperative godowns be taken up at a total out lay of Rs. 1172.50 crores.  A  budget provision of 305 crores will be made in the budget outlay of Department of Agriculture & Cooperation for remaining 4 years of 10th plan.

For minimum capacity of 50 MT and maximum capacity of 10,000 MT, there is no ceiling of renovation under Cooperatives.


                              Other than N.E.States               In N.E.States/Small Farmer

                              & hilly areas                             (Below 100 MT Godown Capacity)



Owner Contribution                        25%                                         20%

Subsidy from Govt.                         25%                                         33.33%
Bank Loan                                      50%                                         46.67%


Programme Implementation Date:                     1-4-03 to 31-3-2007

Construction     :As per CPWD /SPWD specifications

Benefits:-  Facility for pledge financing and pledging loan on hypothecation. Terms and conditions as per the guidelines of RBI/NABARD.

           Subsidy under the scheme shall be provided on the capital cost of the project. 


1)      For godowns upto 1000  MT capacity – actual cost or Rs.2000/- per tonnes for storage capacity whichever is less.

2)      For godown exceeding 1000 MT capacity – actual cost or Rs.1500/- whichever is less

3)      For renovation of cooperative godowns – actual cost or Rs.500/- per tonnes for storage capacity, whichever is less.

Maximum amount of subsidy Rs. 50 lakhs for each project in NES and hilly areas for small farmers or entrepreneurs belonging to SC/ST.  Maximum amount of subsidity shall be Rs. 60 lakh for each project.

The subsidy shall be provided on completion of construction/renovation of godown in the shape of back ended capital investment subsidy.

Insurance cover: By owner of the Godowns.