Harvesting And Storage

Harvesting Packing Storage Transport


  • Depending on the mode of disposal, the tomato fruits may be harvested at various stages of maturity.

Green stage

  • The fruits are fully developed but are green and suitable for sending to distant markets.

Pink stage

  • Some of the portion is red or pink and the fruit is not fully ripe. It is most suited for local markets.

Ripe stage

  • The major portion of the fruit is red and the softening begins. It may be picked up for home or table use

Full ripe stage

  • The fruit develops maximum colour and turns soft.
  • It is suited for processing purposes.
  • After picking the fruits are graded and sorted out into cracked, bruised, injured fruits and well-matured ripe fruits.
  • For marketing purpose ISI standard is advocated.
  • On an average yield of 250 q/ha is expected from the improved tomato varieties but an excellent crop has produced as high as 400 q/ha.



  • The method of packing is very important. The price in the market depends on type of packing adopted.
  • For long distance transport the tomatos are packed in
    1. Bamboo baskets
    2. Wooden baskets
    3. Plastic boxes

Bamboo baskets

  • For short distance transport of fruits to nearby market bamboo baskets are normally used.
  • In this type of packing lower layers of basket are gets damaged during trasport due to weight of layers above.

  • The baskets last for one season.
  • The loss will be approximately 5%. The capacity of baskets may be 7-8 kg or 30-35 kg.

Wooden boxes

  • The boxes are made of lighter wood.
  • The damage is the minimum. Each box can be used for 10-12 times.
  • Due to minimum loss during package and the boxes can be reused for many number of types these boxes are well suited for long distance transport.

Type of packing
Approx. cost Rs
Capacity Kgs
No of packs in one lory
Loss in packing and transport
Bamboo basket
> 5
Small wooden basket
< 5
Big wooden basket
< 5
Plastic boxes

Plastic boxes

  • The losses in this method is > 1% hence most of the farmers are now resorting to this type of packing.
  • Their longevity is more, easy to carry, easy to load and unload. Material can be transported to long distance with out much spoilage.


  • Different varieties are to be harvested separately
  • Pick out fruits damaged either due to fruit borer of physical damage during harvesting.Separate fruits based on
    1. colour
    2. size
    3. Degree of ripening/stage of maturity
  • To increase storage life spraying of fruits with wax is advocated.
  • Pack the fruits separately according to grade before sending them to market
  • If the grading quality at farmer level is not satisfactory the produce will be graded again at market
  • The losses due to grading at farmer level is 5-8%.If the grading is not good at farmer level another 4-5% loss in produce is possible.



  • The best storage temperature is from 12° C to 15° C. When stored at freezing point, the fruits show low temperature injury.
  • Mature green fruits can be kept for as long as 30 days at 10° C to 15° C. Ripe tomatoes can be kept for 10 days at 4.5 ° C.
  • The recommended relative humidity is 85-90 per cent.
  • Tomato can be stored under normal conditions for 7-10 days.
  • Mature fruits can be stored for 4-6 weeks at 85-90% RH and 50 -55° F.



Transport in bullockcarts

Transport in Lorries

  • In general farmers use bullock carts or tractors for sending the produce to near by market.
  • From market yards the produce is transported to distance places in ordinary trucks and lorries.
  • Even though the air-conditioned transport system is available they are not with in the reach of ordinary farmers.
  • Perfect packing, care in loading and unloading and quick transport results in less spoilage of fruits and fetches higher prices.
  • The capacity to withstand transport depends on cultivar to cultivar and cultivation practices.
  • Transport to distance of 500-750 km can be made without much loss.


Andhra Pradesh