Honiara’s fresh horticultural markets are a critical component of the food distribution system in Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands. Most of the population that reside in Honiara are now dependent on the municipal horticultural market and a network of smaller road-side markets to source their fresh fruits and vegetables. Potentially poor postharvest supply chain practice could be leading to high levels of postharvest loss in Honiara markets, undermining domestic food security. This study reports on a preliminary assessment of postharvest horticultural market loss and associated supply chain logistics at the Honiara municipal market and five road-side markets on Guadalcanal Island. Using vendor recall to quantify loss, we surveyed a total of 198 vendors between November 2017 and March 2018. We found that postharvest loss in the Honiara municipal market was 7.9 to 9.5%, and that road-side markets incurred 2.6 to 7.0% loss. Based on mean postharvest market loss and the incidence of individual vendor loss, Honiara’s road-side market system appears to be more effective in managing postharvest loss, compared to the municipal market. Postharvest loss was poorly correlated to transport distance, possibly due to the inter-island and remote intra-island chains avoiding high-perishable crops. Spatial mapping of postharvest loss highlighted a cohort of villages in the western and southern parts of the main horticultural production region (i.e., eastern Guadalcanal) with atypically high levels of postharvest loss. The potential importance of market-operations, packaging type, and mode of transport on postharvest market loss, is further discussed.
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