Factors that Determine the Packaging of Agricultural Produce
There are various factors, that determine the choice of materials for the packaging of farm produce, for sale. Items to be used for packaging will depend on the following factors:
1. The Nature of the Produce:
The nature of the agricultural produce (solid, liquid, or any shape) determines the type of materials to be used for their packaging.
Liquid farm produce, like palm oil, groundnut oil, liquid milk, and any drinkable substance, are packaged, in bottles, tins, large drums, plastic jerry cans, for easy transportation, and marketing.
Solid agricultural produce, like legume seeds (which include kidney beans, cowpeas, groundnut, and soya bean) are usually packaged in jute and polythene bags, for both transportation and marketing.
Grains (which include rice, millet, maize, wheat, sorghum, etc) also use the same method.
Horticultural crops such as onions, pepper, carrots, tomatoes, pawpaw, orange, guava, etc, are packaged in big bags or in baskets for easy transportation and marketing.
Eggs because of their shape and fragile nature are usually packaged in Egg trays.
2. Bulkiness or Size of the Produce:
This is the weight and size of farm produce. Some farm produce, that are large in size, occupy plenty of space during storage and transpiration. The bulky nature of farm produce determines the types of materials to be used for packaging them.
Jute sacks and baskets of various sizes are used for the packaging of yam, cassava, cocoa, tomatoes, orange, potato, etc.
Cotton lints are packaged in bales, also dry pastures (grass) are rolled into bales for easy transportation and marketing. Dry pastures (grass) also called Hay, are fed to ruminant animals like cattle, sheep, and goats.
3. Live, Frozen, or Dry Stock:
Packaging materials used for animal products, depend on if the animals are alive, fresh, frozen, or dry.
Day-old chicks are usually packed in specially designed small cartons, with side openings, for easy transportation and marketing. Adult poultry birds are packaged in big fold baskets, woven from palm fronds.
Live fish can be packaged in a big bowl containing water. Fresh or frozen farm produce, like meat, fish, milk and some frozen items are packaged in cold storage devices, such as refrigerators, freezers, vans, and refrigerated lorries, for easy transportation and marketing. They are packaged in different sizes.
Large animals like cattle, sheep, goats, and horses are usually packaged in big truck vans, for easy movement, transportation, and marketing.
Dry and smoked fish are usually packaged in baskets, made from palm fronds or bamboo, cartons, jute bags, and polythene bags for easy transportation and marketing.
4. Distance to Markets:
The distance from farms to the markets often determines the choice of materials, to be used for agricultural produce, in terms of packaging criteria. Agricultural produce, to be carried to a far distance, requires the use of trucks and trailers.
Farm produce like tomatoes and oranges should be packed in baskets, while onions are to be packed in bags. Cereals and legumes are usually packed in jute synthetic bags, for easy transportation and marketing.
Groundnut oil, palm oil, and palm wine are usually put in big jerry cans and barrels for easy transportation and sale. Packaging containers and materials must have sufficient stacking strength, to resist crushing.