Sources of fertilizer are one of the major factors influencing baby spinach leaf texture, sweetness, bitterness and after-taste. However, the effects of fertilizer sources on baby spinach growth performance and consumer preferences are not known. A survey was carried out at the Seke Teachers’ College (SKC) community, Zimbabwe to determine the... consumer preferences on the baby spinach grown on the organic fertilizer (cattle, poultry and goat manures) as well as on control inorganic fertilizers (7% N, 14% P, 7% K). The study used 32 females and 30 males as panellists for sensory evaluations. Organoleptic tests were performed for the baby spinach leaves using a panel of 62 testers. An interval line scale (16 cm long) was used to measure the liking for sweetness, colour, bitterness and after-taste. A 9-point hedonic scale was used to decide the overall preferences. Organoleptic tests showed significant differences (P<0.05) in appearance and taste between the inorganic and organic fertilizers used. The baby spinach leaves grown on organic fertilizers was preferred more compared to that grown on inorganic fertilizer (control). Therefore, it is recommended to use organic fertilizers in baby spinach production in order to satisfy consumer preferences.
Coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-2019) outbreak resulted to a global health problem. Lockdown was one of the common options suggested to curb the pandemic. Horticultural produces are perishable so delayed post-harvest marketing cause losses. This study aimed at evaluating the marketing of horticultural produces and farmers’ level of prepare...dness during the COVID-19 lockdown. A self-administered questionnaire was posted online from April 7 to May 7, 2020 the first month of COVID-19 lockdown in Zimbabwe (began on March 30, 2020). The study targeted horticultural farmers around Harare peri-urban and had 300 respondents. Data on sociodemographic, farmers’ behavior, awareness and attitude toward marketing and desire to minimize post-harvest losses was obtained. Frequency counts and percentages were determined. Chi-square tests on independent variables were done to test associations with demographics using SPSS version 8. There were significant (P<0.05) relations between awareness and attitude toward marketing, age and level of education. Demographic variable influenced the famers’ marketing behavior and attitude during COVID-19 lockdown. Most farmers reported highest (>35%) produce sale leftovers at the markets and spoilage during than prior the COVID-19 lockdown. The lockdown resulted to low sales and most farmers were unprepared for any crisis during the marketing stage of their production. The research contributed to an understanding of how a crisis situation influence marketing of horticultural produce and raises awareness regarding post-harvest losses. A qualitative study is recommended as a follow-up of this work.