African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6578

Full Length Research Paper

Current knowledge and performance of existing charcoal coolers in improving the overall quality and shelf-life of French beans

Ogumo E. O.
  • Ogumo E. O.
  • Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Technology, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya.
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Kunyanga C. N.
  • Kunyanga C. N.
  • Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Technology, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya.
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Okoth M. W.
  • Okoth M. W.
  • Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Technology, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya.
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Kimenju J.
  • Kimenju J.
  • Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya.
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  •  Received: 23 September 2017
  •  Accepted: 26 October 2017
  •  Published: 07 December 2017

Abstract

This study investigates current knowledge and performance of existing technology, ‘charcoal coolers’ in improving the overall quality and shelf-life of French beans. Data was collected primarily from a household survey using a semi-structured questionnaire administered to 45 purposively selected farmers who were selected at fixed interval. Data was analysed using the Statistical Product and Service Solutions (SPSS) Version 20 software and Pearson correlation is used to show the relationship between demographic characteristics and farmers post-harvest handling practices. The study revealed that majority of the farmers (80%) harvested late between 9 am to 12 noon and targeted temperature of 16 to 20°C. Only 32% of the farmers interviewed disinfected their produce after harvesting. Majority of farmers (57%) did not belong to any farmers’ group or co-operatives. On the other hand, majority of the famers (80%) had adopted use of charcoal cooler technology and 69% stored their produce for between 1 and 6 h before delivering them to the packing shed, a distance that would take another 6 h. Farmers’ age and education level had positive influence on use of cold storage facility. To sustain the use of cold storage facilities and technologies, there is need to support establishment of a community-based cold storage facilities that can be accessed by the small scale farmers to ensure their produce remain fresh before transfer to packing stations. Such a move would considerably reduce food losses and wastes along the value chain, which is an instrumental agenda of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal.

Key words: French beans, charcoal cooler, cold storage, post-harvest practices, quality, shelf life.