Apple (Malus domestica) is a temperate climate fruit tree grown in the highland climates. Specifically, it is widely and largely cultivated in the Gamo Gofa administrative zone at Chencha woreda in Ethiopia. Although there is inadequate information regarding the cause of fruit loss, some other details reveal the production status of the fruit in the area. This study was aimed at assessing the causes of apple fruit loss at harvest, transport and storage conditions in the study area. Survey was done in selected twenty kebeles known for high apple fruit production. A total of 60 respondents (males and females) were purposely pre-selected with the help of woreda agricultural extension experts based on their experience in producing the fruit. Group discussion, interviews and field observation were held. Farmers were interviewed using easy and relaxed questionnaires. Data was analyzed using SPSS software version 20. From total respondents interviewed, 46.7, 53.3 and 43.3% of them reported fruit bruise and wound while harvesting, lack of appropriate box/bag during transport, absence of storage facility respectively accounted for the maximum loss of the fruit in the study area. Only 8.3, 10 and 11.7% of total respondents reported loading and unloading during transport, knowledge gap on how to pick the fruit at harvest along with apple varieties under cultivation and during storage aas factors for the loss of fruit. Therefore, provision of training on fruit postharvest management and handling, harvesting containers, bag/boxes and developing of storage technologies (local/improved) are vital.
Key words: Fruit loss, harvesting, transport, storage.
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