The timing of crops (maturity indices) significantly affects the duration of storage, quality
parameters at the present time of harvest, postharvest, shelf life and commercial activities/
operations; to ensure that crop produce maintains and retains good quality and stability
during storage. They should be harvested at the accurate /appropriate time; maturityindices is
a prime factor which can be used to manage and minimize farm-to-market perishability; first
step in postharvest life of crop produce is timely harvest for most fruits andvegetables which
are harvested manually. The maturity and harvest of produce has an important bearing on the
commercial operations, quality and freshness assurance, the degree of maturity and time of
harvest dictates how the produce can be handled; transported and marketed. Maturity indices
of some crop produce indicates that it is due for consumption in spite of the fact that ripening
has not taken place; ripening is an indication that maturity indexhas been manifested, some
produce (fruits and vegetables) are harvested with little or no sign ofripening, and the indicator
for harvest is the maturity index. The manifestation of maturity indices varies depending on
the part or parts of the crop utilized; some crops are desired at theearly stage when it is fresh
and succulent; others at the mid stage of development when they arepartially matured; in all, at
any stage a produce is desired, there is maturity index shown. Whenripening is fully initiated,
the produced is over matured and senescence is bound to take place. Itis at this level that crop
produce spoilage becomesthe order ofthe day.
Keywords: Maturity, indices and spices crops.
Maturity and time of harvest of crop produce is of paramount importance to the length of
which the produce would last if not processed to transform from the raw state to more/none
easily perishable product. Crop maturity has signs that accompany it. These signs are called
maturity indices(plural) and vary amongst crops.The sign(s) is an indication that the produce is
due for harvest.At thisstage, if not harvested,senescence sets-in.Afully matured crop produce
neither grows (increase in size) but stunted (the same in size). When harvest is prolonged or
delayed, the produce is just a step away to lose its freshness, good quality and eventually
spoilage before it completes the channels of distribution. According to Akinwande, et al.,
(2008) “The use of crop maturity index ward-off early spoilage of produce till it getsto the final
consumers”. They observed that degradation sets-in as the product voyages through the line of
commerce. Early harvest of crop limits spoilage and financial loss on the part of whole-sellers
and retailers. The handling and marketing of over matured or over riped produce is
cumbersome, compared to moderately matured produce since spoilage is delayed (Djatt and
Mahajan 2007). Little sign of ripening (maturity index) favours the local market that is
evidently distant from the point of production and the processing industries. Gast, (1992)
declared that over ripening of fruits and vegetable crops before harvest accounts for 32% of
damage by field pests which leads to disease infestation and renders fruits and vegetables
unattractive and unmarketable and thus reduce the value of the produce and income of the
Maturity indices of crops plays a vital role to determine harvest time.The manifestation
of maturity indices is a conspicuous indication that growth has stopped. The crop becomes…

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