Poor handling and storage methods cause the nutrients in vegetables to deteriorate rapidly.

Water quality is another concern for vegetable production in urban settings. The source of water used to produce and clean the crop may be polluted by industrial and domestic waste. If pesticides are used on crops, pesticide residue may contaminate produce, and the local water supply, if producers are not adequately trained and willing to follow proper use of the chemicals. Growers should avoid using polluted water to wash vegetables after harvest to prevent contamination from microorganisms, pesticide residues and heavy metals harmful to human health. Urban producers need a good understanding of the risks of using contaminated water. Simple solutions such as taking the produce to be cleaned at a site where the quality of water is not in doubt may be necessary.

Simple techniques, big effects

By following post-harvest handling methods best suited to their situations, urban and peri-urban vegetable growers can harvest and deliver produce of good quality to the point of sale.