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Evaluating critical causal factors for post-harvest losses (PHL) in the fruit and vegetables supply chain in India using the DEMATEL approach

Gardas, Bhaskar B., Raut, Rakesh D., Narkhede, Balkrishna
Journal of cleaner production 2018 v.199 pp. 47-61
expert opinion, farmers, farms, foods, fruits, harvest date, infrastructure, marketing channels, markets, models, multi-criteria decision making, packaging, postharvest losses, supply chain, vegetables, India
The post-harvest and marketing system is a chain of interlinked activities starting after the harvest time and continuing until the delivery of the food product to the consumers. An efficient post-harvest system ensures that the harvested product reaches the customer in the shortest possible time interval without compromising the volume, quality, and safety of the product. The objective of this paper is to identify and model the critical causal factors of post-harvest losses (PHL) in the fruit and vegetable (F&V) supply chain in India, with the help of a detailed literature review and expert opinions. Fifteen causal factors were identified using the decision making and trial evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL) method, which is a multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) tool. This was applied for determining the cause-effect relationships among the identified factors. The results highlighted that the most critical factors that should be tackled to ensure progressive PHL reduction are: lack of proper packaging facilities (PHL3), lack of proper storage facilities (PHL1), insufficient infrastructure (PHL4), improved handling of the products at the farm and marketplace (PHL2), lack of processing facilities (PHL5), lack of linkage between the farmers and processing units (PHL6), lack of linkages in the marketing channel (PHL9), and large number of intermediaries (PHL15). The findings of this study are intended to guide various supply chain members and decision-makers for reducing PHL and improving the overall performance of the F&V supply chain.