STUDIES ON SORTING AND GRADING PRACTICES OF TOMATOES (SOLANUM LYCOPERSICUM) IN KANO CLUSTERED AREAS NIGERIA
Tomato (Solanum Lycopersicum) fruit is an important crop with a high nutritional value. It contains proteins, carbohydrates, fiber and vitamins. Tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables are important parts of human diets. The quest of consumers to have quality foods made sorting and grading of food materials unavoidable. Sorting could reduce handling losses of tomatoes during transportation and it adds value to the products. Despite the importance of sorting and grading of tomatoes to its processing, storage, transportation and marketing there is little or no information on how the processors of tomatoes in tomato production cluster areas of Kano State go about this important task. The present study therefore, seeks to carry out studies on tomato sorting and grading in the study area. The study was carried out using a structured questionnaire to collect data from the tomato processors to shed light on the areas where researchers and engineers needed to play roles to alleviate the drudgeries involved in the sorting and grading of this important product. Data collected from the questionnaires were analyzed using simple percentages of responses obtained and charts were used to illustrate the results. The results show that 88% of the tomato processors are young and energetic people whose occupations need to be enhanced. Few respondents (15%) have experience of 10 years and above, probably because of the tediousness of the work many people tend to stop the work as they are ageing. A total of 87% of the respondents agreed that sorting and grading are very important and they greatly affect the sales of tomatoes. Variety, colour, size and spoilage of tomatoes are the factors that are mostly considered by buyers of tomatoes. UC-82B variety of tomato has the highest mean values in most of the physical properties measured, having a width, weight, arithmetic mean diameter, geometric mean diameter, aspect ratio, sphericity and surface area of 53.63 mm, 0.25 kg, 52.27 mm, 51.00 mm, 96.35, 0.92 and 9637 mm2 respectively. These are important parameters needed for the design of tomato sorting machines. It is therefore recommended that the findings from this study should be taken into consideration in the design and fabrication of sorting machines for our local tomato varieties.
Authors : Shittu, S. K. and Barau, A.
Category : Open Access Volume (Issue) : 7(1) Date Uploaded : 14th June 2021