Purchasing food either in supermarkets, food stores or local groceries is always in the daily activity list. When walking through stores, it’s easy to spot fresh fruits and vegetables. However, you may have wondered how the fruits are produced and all of them e.g. apples the same as the ones in the grocery or food store. Well, fruits have a different appearance (shape, size and colour). Not all apples are red and of the same size and not all bananas are yellow. Fruit appearance vary in varieties, each having its own unique characteristics and that’s where their beauty originates from.
The export market is highly demanding when it comes to fruit quality. There are strict measures to ensure that farmers produce high-quality fruits. Same requirements are also in the local market especially in supermarkets and hotels. When fruit farmers fail to meet the required quality, groceries are forced to discard the fruits and end up not buying the produce again. Farmers end up selling at distress prices and are left with a large bunch of fruits. What’s the final result? The food becomes waste and the farmer makes losses and ends up regretting why they invested in fruit farming.
Can fruit appearance affect farmer’s profitability?
Fruit appearance is one of the factors that can determine whether a customer purchases the fruit or not. The colour of fruits is mainly determined by the ecological conditions and management techniques applied. Ecological conditions have a great impact in fruit appearance. For instance, in grape farming, sunlight determines the colour concentrations. When the vineyards receive direct and concentrated sunlight, the grapes develop thicker skin which enhances colour concentrations, flavour profiles, and makes them have stronger tannins. If properly taken care of, grapes with good colour concentrations will always have a higher demand and buyers will always compete for the fruits in the orchard.
When fruits such as apples, mangoes, bananas, or avocados are stored for longer periods, they tend to lose their colour and attractive appearance. When fruits stay for longer periods in the farm upon maturity, they start losing their appearance. Also, when fruits are attacked by pests and diseases, their quality and appearance deteriorates. Such fruits can barely attract any buyers and only a small amount makes it to the market. What does this mean? The farmer can only sell at low prices hence low profits. Few customers are willing to buy less attractive fruits.
How to maintain and enhance fruit appearance and quality
Soil Testing and Agronomy support
Agronomists play an important role in your fruit farming venture. They help you identify your weaknesses, areas you need to improve on, monitor the performance of the trees and conduct soil testing to determine the nutrients absent and need to be supplemented in the soil. They also help you know the pest and disease control mechanism that you should employ. Consulting the experts such as Oxfarm Ag Ltd can help you improve the fruit appearance and quality and enable you to succeed in fruit farming.
Weeds compete with fruit trees in an orchard for nutrients and water. They also encourage pest infestation and disease development. Orchards should hence be weed-free. Planting cover crops such as legumes and mulching is encouraged to minimize the growth of weeds.
Timely control of pest and diseases
Pests and diseases great affect fruit appearance and quality. For instance, pests such as mites can cause black spots brown spots on avocado fruits while thrips can cause leathery scars. Diseases such as sunblotch can cause discoloration of fruits which in turn affects the fruit appearance. Regular scouting is recommended to help farmers identify and control pests and diseases in a timely manner.
Consistent application of manure and fertilizers
Fruit trees are heavy feeders and require consistent application of nutrients. Manure should be applied regularly to enhance the growth of plants. Fertilizers should also be applied to supplement nutrients and boost fruit quality.
Oxfarm offers Agronomy support as well as sale of highly certified seedlings.