Assessment of Freshcut Fruit Handling and Vending in the Central Business Area of Koforidua, Ghana
Keywords:employment, handling practices, local freshcut fruits, vendors
Local freshcut fruit vending create employment and also facilitate fruit consumption to promote public health.Â However, handling of the fruits and unhygienic practices can affect the quality and safety of freshcut fruits. This study was conducted to assess the handling practices and vending of freshcut fruits in Koforidua Ghana, using questionnaires administered to 54 randomly selected freshcut fruit vendors. The results showed that the enterprise is dominated by females (92.6%) and majority (75.9%) of respondents is literate. Many (72%) of the vendors have engaged in freshcut within five years (range <1-5) years indicating freshcut as recent value addition activity. Fruits are sourced from wholesalers (48.1%) and farmers (40.7%) and included pineapple, watermelon, mango and pawpaw. The main source of water for washing the fruits was pipe borne water (64.8%) and no sanitizers were added to the water. A total of 85.1% of the vendors used transparent LDPE bag as primary packaging. Selling containers during vending included metal tray (59.3%), safe (glass box) 20.4% and unsold freshcut fruits were kept in either refrigerator (25.9%) or in store-room (9.3%).Â Vendors (74.9%) had no other sources of income. Majority (81.5%)) of the vendors had no professional training related to safe preparation and processing of freshcut fruits. Vending sites included roadside (streets), bus/taxi station and market. Freshcut fruit vending is a local enterprise that provide income for the women engaged in the trade. It is recommended that professional training be provided on good hygienic practices of handling to improve the quality and safety of the freshcut fruits for consumers and enhance the business.
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