Post-harvest Loss of Farm Raised Indian and Chinese Major Carps in the Distribution Channel from Mymensingh to Rangpur of Bangladesh
M. Motaleb Hossain,
M. Nazmul Hassan
Post-harvest loss of catla (Catla catla), rohu (Labeo rohita), mrigal (Cirrhinus mrigala), silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) and sarpunti (Puntius sarana) in a single distribution chain from harvest in Mymensingh to retail sale Rangpur town were determined, in order to obtain information on quality deterioration and existing handling and icing conditions so that suggestions for improving such practices can be made. Quality defect points of the fish at different steps of distribution channels were determined using a sensory based quality assessment tool. Percent quality loss of fish at each step of distribution was calculated from the number of cases that crossed sensory quality cut-off points. Neither of the fish lost their quality when they were in the farm gate, during transportation and in wholesale markets in Rangpur but most of the fishes lost their quality at the retail fish shops. The quality loss was 8, 12, 8, 6, 10 and 14% in case of C. catla, C. mrigala, L. rohita, H. molitrix, C. idella and P. sarana respectively in the retail markets. Fishes were not properly handled, bamboo baskets wrapped with polythene sheet were used as carrying container and inadequate ice was used during transportation. Retailers were found to be more proactive in the use of ice. However, most of the fishes were deteriorated during retail sale. The losses of farmed fishes could be minimized by adopting good handling practices like using insulated container and adequate icing.
Received: December 05, 2012;
Accepted: February 16, 2013;
Published: March 28, 2013
Fish provides 60% of total protein in the diet and it creates diverse livelihood
opportunities for 5.5 million people as well as earns valuable income and revenue
in Bangladesh (DoF, 2012). Proper handling, processing
and distribution can ensure the cost effective and efficient utilization of
a highly perishable food like fish. The reduction of post-harvest loss can meet
the increasing demand of fish in the country and it can also prevail the consumer
satisfaction on fish quality and quantity (Nowsad, 2010).
Each and every stage of fish supply chain from harvest to retail distribution
in Bangladesh suffers from severe post-harvest loss due to unawareness and negligence
on proper handling and processing (Nowsad, 2004). In
case of low quality fishes, improper handling and processing reduce the quality
of the products and cause a great concern to food security and public health.
The fish traders and processors also face serious economic loss due to this
ignorance. Most of the freshwater catch is marketed by the fishermen/farmers
in the vicinity of the culture sites or landing spots through a number of intermediaries
such as fish vendors, (feriwala), wholesalers (paiker) or agents. Large quantities
of high valued fishes are usually transported to more distant markets while
small quantities of fish with little amount of high valued fish are disposed
of local daily markets. During transportation, a considerable portion of the
total catch loses its quality by the time it reaches the consumer. Quality loss
also occurs when the fish are transported to distant markets by trucks, carrier
launches and retail wagons (Coulter and Disney, 1987).
Lack of proper knowledge on packing, handling during loading and unloading and
method of icing and lack of suitable containers and insufficient knowledge about
sanitation and hygiene are the important factors that result in quality loss
(Nowsad, 2010). On the other hand, the fisheries resources
should be better utilized for the promotion of domestic and export markets.
The most direct and immediate contribution to increase food supplies could be
made possible by reducing post harvest loss. The consumer behavior, regular
launching of new product and modern and improved packaging of the value added
products make the export market highly competitive for the processors. They
all need a wide range of research support to promote export by producing safe
and quality products and providing reasonable assurance that fish and fishery
products from the country will be safe and of good quality to meet the standard
requirements of export. Quality of raw materials needs to be assured at farm,
landing, transportation, processing and factory levels (Mansur,
However, the scientific and practical knowledge on the keeping qualities of
tropical or sub-tropical fishes is very limited. In recent years, the importance
of storage temperature and pH for the quality of fish muscle proteins has been
realized (Nowsad, 2012). Considerable information is
available on the post-harvest quality changes in fish from temperate and cold
waters but very little is known on the fish species of the warm waters, particularly
freshwater carp which are commercially and nutritionally very important in this
region. This study was carried out to investigate the post-harvest losses of
catla (C. catla), rui (L. rohita), mrigel (C. mrigala),
silver carp (H. molitrix), grass carp (C. idella) and sarpunti
(P. sarana) in different stages of their distribution and marketing from
Mymensingh to Rangpur for getting information on quality deterioration and existing
handling and icing conditions so that suggestions for improving such practices
can be made.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Study area and marketing channel of fish: The quality loss of C. catla, L. rohita, C. mrigala, C. idella, H. Molitrix and P. sarana in the distribution channel from Mymensingh to Rangpur was studied in the month of July and August 2010. To identify fish quality in a single distribution chain, fishes caught from different fish farms of Trishal upazila under Mymensingh district and their distributions routes up to retail fish markets in Rangpur were investigated. The fish farms were: (1) Janani Fish Farm, Dhanikhola, Trishal, Mymensingh; (2) Momota Fish Farm, Boilor, Trishal, Mymensingh and (3) Bhai Bhai Agro Farm, Boilor, Trishal, Mymensingh. The wholesale markets in the distribution chain where auction conducted by the commission agents was Rangpur Pouro Wholesale Market and Rangpur Terminal Market. The fishes were sold to the consumers in adjacent retail markets in Rangpur town within the day. The quality of fish thus studied in five steps of their distribution channels, viz., (1) farm site (2) loaded on truck (3) mid-way of transportation from Mymensingh to Rangpur (4) auctioning in Rangpur and (5) retailing in Rangpur town.
Condition of fish during harvest and post harvest handling: Fish were caught from the farm ponds by seine net in the evening (1800 to 1900 h). Fishes were either sold to the transporters (Foria/Pikers) or transported up to Rangpur by the farm owner himself. The traders sorted the fish on the basis of size, weighed, packed in bamboo basket with ice and loaded on truck. About 180-200 kg fish were packed in one basket. For packaging, un-insulated bamboo basket wrapped with polythene sheet and raised by bamboo sticks to accommodate 200 kg fish was used. During packing ice to fish ratio was 1:3 or 1:4. Fish in bamboo baskets were transported from Farm gate in Mymensingh to Rangpur wholesale markets in open truck. After auctioning in wholesale market, fish were taken into aluminium dish/container to transport to retail markets. After harvesting, packing and loading required 2-4 h and the journey started at 2200 h. It took about eight hours to carry fish from farm gate of Mymensingh to wholesale market of Rangpur.
Fish were taken in commission agents in Rangpur, locally called arat
in very early morning (06:00 h). Auctions were stared at 0700 and continued
up to 09:00 h. Fish were sold on plastic and aluminium tray in the retail markets.
Retailers tried to keep the fish in good condition through re-icing and frequent
use of water on fish. But in most cases no ice was used. In retail markets,
fishes were sold up to 2400 h of the day (18 h after harvest). Unsold fishes
were kept in ice box or with ice in bamboo basket for next day sale.
Assessment of sensory quality loss in wet fish: Quality loss of wet
fish in different stages of distribution channels was assessed according to
the modified method of Nowsad (2010). The method was
based on fish loss assessment and control tool originally developed by Torry
Research Institute, U.K (Sakaguchi, 1994). At first sensory
Defect Points (DPs) of the fishes at different steps of distribution channels
were determined using Table 1 and the quality of fish was
determined according to Table 2.
Each of the 3 fish farms sold and transported their fish to Rangpur on regular
basis. For each of the farms, two research voyages were made, one in July and
another in August. Thus 6 research voyages were made. In each voyage, the data
collectors moved along with the fish from the origin of harvest through the
distribution channels up to retailers and assessed the quality deterioration
of same fish or same lot of fish. In every step of distribution, at least five
lots of same fish and 5 individual measurements for each lot were assessed based
on Table 1.
Thus the quality deteriorations of the same fish or same lot of fish were assessed
during its movement from harvest to retailers.
Percent loss of fish in each step of distribution was calculated according
to Nowsad (2010). After death fish undergoes biochemical
and microbiological changes and these changes are accelerated with the laps
of time. Each chemical and microbiological quality parameters has a quality
cut-off point beyond which the fish is said to be deteriorated or not acceptable.
Quality loss (%) was calculated from the number of assessed cases that crossed
DP 3.3 in different investigations. The following formula (Nowsad,
2010) was used to calculate percent quality loss of fish.
||Percent quality loss
||Number of observed lots
||Total number of calculated DP those crossed DP 3.3
where, p is the number of DP crossed 3.3 in fishes in x number of lots and n is the number of observations in each lot.
Data analysis: All the collected information were summarized and scrutinized carefully and recorded. Finally, they were analyzed by MS-Excel and then presented in textual and tabular forms in accordance with the objectives of the study.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The quality defect points of the assessed fishes in the distribution channel
from Mymensingh to Rangpur have been presented in Table 3.
A total of 6 voyages were made where the same fish or the same lot of fish were
evaluated through its movement from farms to retail fish shops. It was found
that the quality of fish was degraded with the time passed. In C. catla,
the Defect Point (DP) was 1.0 at farm gate (Trisal, Mymensingh) at 8.00 p.m.,
but 2.60±0.83 at retail markets at 2.00 p.m. of the following day. The
scenario was almost similar in case of other 4 species. The DP started with
1.0 but ended with 2.94±1.66, 3.04±1.02, 3.22±0.81, 3.65±1.11,
3.15±1.34 in L. rohita, C. mrigala, H. molitrix, C.
idella and P. sarana, respectively. Table 2 shows
that the fish having DP in the range between 3 and 4 were deteriorating and
|| Sensory defect point (DP), ambient temperature and handling
situation, time spent for fish trip at different distribution channels
|IaC: Immediately after catch, LoT: Loaded on truck, MwT: Mid-way
transportation, WM: Wholesale market, RM: Retail market
|| Container used and other conditions applied during transportation
|| Extent of quality loss of fish (%) in different stages of
In other study, Nowsad (2010) determined the sensory
quality breaking point of fish at DP 3.3. Based on the results, it was observed
that most of the fishes lost their quality acceptance level at the retail fish
shops. The fishes those were well taken care off during transportation were
found in good quality. Temperature was gradually increased as the sunshine getting
intense. Obviously, the rate of deterioration was accelerated by the higher
ambient temperature that resulted higher oxidation. Mansur
et al. (2002) also found similar results. The initial temperature
was 29.0°C at 8.00 p.m. and reached to 32.6°C at 2.00 p.m. of the day.
Initial ice to fish ratio during the start of distribution path was 1:3. Re-icing
was not done during transportation or auctioning. Ice was found to be completely
melted down by the time the fish reached auction center in Rangpur. There was
no scope to re-ice fish during the journey. After auction, a very little amount
of ice was used by the retailers. During retail sale, however, re-icing and
sprinkling of cold water over fish were done.
Mainly bamboo baskets wrapped in by polythene sheet were used to transport the fish (Table 4). Ideal ice box or metallic or plastic box with insulation were not used. During packing, bamboo baskets of 30-40 kg capacity were raised by bamboo sticks and polythene sheet to about 1.5 to 2.0 feet so that the capacity of basket increased up to 180-200 kg fish. There was no opening to drain out the melted water. Open truck were used to carry fish. Baskets filled with 180-200 kg fish were kept on the truck side by side. Retailer collected the fish from wholesale market with little or no ice since most of the ice was found to be melted down. The retailers carried their fish by aluminium tray (Table 4). In most cases, retailers did not use sufficient ice to keep the fish fresh. As a result with the passing of time and increase of temperature fishes were deteriorated in different extent (Table 5).
The percent quality loss of fish was determined in different stages of distribution
channel (Table 5). In determining the quality loss, quality
of fish at all steps in 6 voyages was considered and the average was taken.
Neither of the fish lost their quality when they were in the farm gate, during
packing and transportation and in wholesale markets. The quality loss was 8,
12, 8, 6, 10 and 14% in case of C. catla, C. mrigala, L. rohita,
H. molitrix, C. idella and P. sarana respectively in the
retail markets. At the farm gate, fishes were fresh and freshness in terms of
average DP were in acceptable range (DP<3.3) during transportation up to
the wholesalers. But in some observations, DPs of fish at wholesalers sometimes
exceeded the acceptable range, as shown that the standard error (±) values
were more than 1.0 in some cases (Table 1). This wide fluctuation
of DPs might be due to misappropriate handling of fish and high ambient temperature
in those occasions. It was observed that, P. sarana encountered highest
loss (14%), followed by C. mrigala (12%) and C. idella (10%).
The losses might be associated with landing conditions, size and oil contents
encountered with high ambient temperature. Within the same lot deterioration
of C. idella and C. mrigala might be due to their less firmness
of the muscle compared to other species. However, the percent loss of the studied
fishes transported from Mymensingh to Rangpur were slightly lower than the percent
quality loss of fish (12-16%) determined from many different distribution channels
of the entire country (Nowsad, 2010). Nowsad
(2010) estimated the post harvest quality loss of 28 commercial freshwater
and marine fishes under different seasonal and handling conditions and in different
short to long distribution channels in Bangladesh. The average post harvest
loss in retailers for C. catla, L. rohita, C. mrigala,
C. idella and H. molitrix were found to be 12, 16, 11, 12 and
13%, respectively. Due to difference in handling conditions, post harvest loss
was observed not only in retailers or vendors but also in wholesalers and transporters.
C. catla, L. rohita, C. mrigala, C. idella and
H. molitrix were found to be lost by 3, 4, 6, 3 and 3%, respectively in
transporters. In that study fish landed from both capture and culture fisheries
were studied and average value of all types of fishes in all distribution channels
were taken. But, in our present study, farm-raised fishes were transported immediately
after harvest through definite distribution route without lapsing time. The
present distribution route was more or less smooth and comparatively better
care was taken during transportation up to wholesalers of Rangpur.
Many authors also observed post-harvest fish losses at different stages of
distribution chain from capture to consumption. Hossain
et al. (2002) found huge loss of fish due to very poor or no preservation
facilities in Mymensingh area. As there was inadequate handling and preservation
(icing, chilling and freezing) or storage facilities for farmed Indian major
carps, the retail fish traders suffered huge economic loss in terms of low price
offered for quality deterioration (Hossain and Afroze, 1991;
Hossain et al., 2002). Hossain
et al. (2002, 2005) and Hoq
and Kohinoor (2005) identified the livelihoods of such fish traders in Kewatkhali
and Shutiakhali Union of Mymensingh was highly vulnerable.
However, these losses of farmed fishes could be minimized by adopting good handling practices like using insulated container and adequate icing.
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