Quality Grading Prepares the Crops for the Market

Ines Hajdu

Agronomy Expert

Farmers love their job and enjoy in every farm practice. They believe that working in nature and producing the food for growing population is not an obligation, but a privilege. Still, most farmers are driven by profit. Some of them are ambitious businessmen with big goals for their crop production, while others cultivate the land to feed their families and earn their livelihood.

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Being a profitable farmer often includes understanding the market and having a sense for the customers' needs. Therefore, once the crops are harvested and the farm season is coming to an end, everything is left to proper post-harvest management, marketing, and sales strategy.

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Crop quality, freshness, attractive appearance, as well as the price, are the most important factors for every customer. In order to find the balance between aforementioned factors and successfully selling their products, farmers practice quality grading.

 

What Is Quality Grading?

Quality grading is a post-harvest practice that consists of classifying the crops into grades or categories regarding their quality. It's practiced in fruit, vegetable, and root post-harvest management.

The crops are usually classified into three or four categories, ranging from the highest to the lowest quality. For example, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, apples can be classified into following quality grades:

  • extra class
  • class I
  • class II

 

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Each country has its own quality grading regulations and classes for a certain crop type. However, the crops are usually classified into quality grades based on the following parameters:

  • size or weight
  • shape
  • color
  • texture
  • stage of maturity
  • the presence of diseases or any physical deformations

 

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Set the Market Goals with Quality Grading

Quality grading is an important post-harvest practice for farmers who care about their customers as well as their own reputation on the market. Farmers who practice quality grading can adjust to market demands more easily. For instance, crops that are higher in quality can achieve a higher price. On the other hand, crops that are lower in quality can be sold for the processing industry. In this manner, quality grading can help farmers set their market goals and find adequate business models.

 

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After all, a good market strategy and a proper management are essential for farmer's profitability.

 

 

Text sources: FAO