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Grading and Packaging of Quality Grade Cut Flowers for ExportBY: Dr. Anita Pedapati | Category: Agriculture | Submitted: 2017-02-07 20:27:05
Article Summary: "After harvesting the flowers should be graded according to various grades as per specification for local and distant market. Standard grades help to growers to improve their flower marketability.."
Grading and Packaging of Quality Grade Cut Flowers for Export
Authors: Dr. Anitha Pedapati
The post harvest behavior of flowers is an outcome of the physiological processes, occurring in leaves, stem and flower bud. The nature and extent of post harvest damage in cut flowers is typical for each crop and/or cultivar. The post harvest losses become important especially when dealing with the export of fresh flowers to distant and foreign market. Standard Grades are offered as a help to growers who want to improve the marketability of their merchandise. Grading standards help to eliminate the human element in grading by providing an inflexible standard. The aim of all grading should be to make the product easier to sell at all levels. The Netherlands is the biggest exporter of cut flowers, with a total value of € 2.9 billion exported mainly to the European market. The Netherland (52%) has dominated the flower industry for many years; Colombia (15%) is the world's second largest exporter of cut flowers. The country has favorable economic factors that aid in the industry's growth. Colombia offers cheap labor, land, production costs and it has an ideal flower-growing climate. The industry has become a major source of employment for low skilled labor and for women. Colombia exports 95% of its production. Three out of every four flowers sold in the United States come from Colombia. The big seasons for flowers are Easter, Valentine's Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Mother's Day.
Quality standards of cut flowers
The cut flowers quality standards mainly depends on shape and size of the flower bud, turgidity or freshness, vase life or keeping quality, stem length, stem strength, condition of calyx, colour, fragrance, development and condition of foliage, foliage free from dust and spray residues, absence of insect/diseases, free from physical defects. Quality depends on the systems of pre-harvest, harvest and post-harvest.
Pre-harvest: The condition under which the flowers are grown.
Harvest: Time of harvest, bud development at harvest stage, flower spike should be clean, turgid flower, free from other physical defects, flowers of good quality.
Post-harvest: Cutting equipments should be clean and sharp, collection buckets clean, conditioning and hardening of flowers, pulsing of flowers, grading, precooling, flowers should not be packed wet
Different grading systems
There are no uniform standards laid down for flower grading which varies from country to country and sometimes from grower to grower. It is better to keep colours separate, both in bunches and containers. The cut flowers along with their attached stems must be free from disease and pests. Each flower/bunch in a pack should be uniform in weight. The cut flowers are graded as Extra class, First class and Second class based on quality.
Functions and requirements of packaging:
The major objective of the cut flowers packing is to increase the sales and profit of a product. The Functions and requirements of packaging are as follows.
Requirements of packaging systems
1. Inertness: Compatibility with the product to maintain it in a satisfactory state during storage and transit until it reaches to a retailer
2. Fitness for consumption: To provide product security during storage and transit
3. Environmental protection: it should able to provide environmental protection against the high risk of adverse interchange with gases
4. Mechanical protection: Against handling and transit hazards
5. Cost: Economical and available in commercial market
6. Decorative: It should be attractive provide adequate surface for identification of the product
7. It should help in selling the product i.e. it should give description, introduction
8. Bulk density: It should give idea about weight, volume, and number
9. It should be bad conductor of heat
Different packing materials
Two sizes of boxes used for shipping flowers, a "coffin" and "half-coffin".
Grading and packaging of different cut flowers
ECE standards for fresh cut roses
FlowerRacket: FlowerRacket is a packing which combines a longer life in the vase with a reduced number of gerbera's per packing, a great advantage for shopkeepers. Gerbera's live longer due to the fact that in the FlowerRacket they are transported on water from the grower to the consumer instead of in a dry box. Only a selected group of quality growers from the Netherlands are allowed to pack gerbera's and minigerbera's in the FlowerRacket.This provides longer life due to transport on water attractive mix per bucket or order small amounts per type easy in transport sell it directly to the consumer. The following packings are available
1. MiniFlowerRacket: content eight FlowerRacket x 10 minigerbera
2. FlowerRacket: content four FlowerRacket x 10 gerbera
- 12 boxes Gerbera
- 18 boxes Mini Gerbera.
Minimum order - ½ masterbox (40”x 24”x 13”).
Loose flowers of single-flowered tuberose are packed in bamboo baskets covered with wet gunny bags. About 10-15 kg fresh flowers are packed in each basket and transported to the nearby wholesale market where they are sold by weight.
The spikes are packed by wrapping them first in wet newsprint sheets and subsequently in corrugated sheets, making bundles of convenient sizes. Such bundles are finally packed in strong card boxes, which are quite handy.The fresh cut flowers being highly perishable and deteriorate in quality as soon as they are cut. They must reach the destination of consumption in a proper stage and fresh condition without losing its grade within 48 hours of cutting. For that, packing of flowers must be up-to-date to maintain the quality without any damage and remain fresh for longer time.
M.S. Reid (2009). Handling of Cut Flowers for Export. Proflora bulletin 8-23
About Author / Additional Info:
Working as a scientist at NBPGR, New Delhi
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