Packhouse Humidity Control – South Africa

Humidity control is essential in agricultural pack houses for several reasons.

Humidity control is essential in agricultural pack houses to preserve the qualitative condition and shelf life of fresh produce to ensure a farmer’s crops attain a fair market price for their investment and endeavours.

Secondly, humidity levels in South Africa vary vastly between wet and dry months e,g, the Mbombela (Nelspruit) region varies between 90% in January/February/December, and 30% in April/November, down to 0% during the month of July.

Thirdly, packhouse HACCP protocols should ideally provide for a humidity level of 90% (which matches the water content of most fruits and vegetables) from post-harvest arrival at the packhouse, through to the production floor where selection/grading/washing/packing takes place, through to cold or dry warehouse storage pending dispatch, thought to the dispatch area itself.

Finally, low humidity levels can cause dehydration of fresh produce, which leads to a loss of weight, colour, and qualitative condition which has a direct bearing on the market value (price) of the produce.

Maintaining appropriate humidity levels helps to preserve the moisture content of produce and prevent weight loss and Polar Africa has been assisting fresh produce merchants since 2008 making industrial humidifiers and ethylene/airborne bacteria scrubbers available to stabilize correct RH levels as well as remove food spoilage gases and bacteria from cold storage chains.

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