An Economic Effect of Post-Harvest Losses of Winter Fruit Trees In Iraq (Orange and Lemon Trees in Baghdad Province: A Case Study)
Fruit trees occupy a major place in the Iraqi agricultural production structure, as they are one of the basic and important foods in the Iraqi consumer basket. However, many horticultural products are subject to loss, especially during the post-harvest phase, due to the fact that most of them are fast-perishable crops after harvest and have a limited marketing and storage durability. The study mainly aimed to measure the economic impact of losses of orange and lemon crops in Iraq. For achieving the purposes of the research, the study relied on the primary data, from questionnaire forms designed by the researchers. The study sample included two levels of producers of oranges and lemons in Baghdad province, who were chosen randomly, namely, orchard owners and wholesalers in the local markets. The estimated results indicated that there are relative differences between the marketed production and the targeted production for both orange and lemon crops at the level of the study sample. The reasons are mostly due to the weak skills of orchard owners and wholesalers in performing marketing and crop service operations, and failure to implement the official agricultural recommendations issued by the relevant agricultural departments in the country. The results also showed that the cash losses, lost areas and wasted water at the level of orchard owner were estimated at about 11 thousand dollars, 4 hectares, and 22 thousand cubic meters for each of them, respectively. Additionally the cash losses for the post-harvest losses of orange and lemon at the level of wholesalers were estimated at about 6 thousand dollars. The study concluded that these losses were one of the reasons for the low rates of self-sufficiency and the dependence of the Iraqi country on importing the two crops to fill the shortage in local production and to meet the increasing demand for these crops.
Keywords - Horticultural Crops, Cash Losses, Lost Areas, Wasted Water, Iraq.