Fruit might be dropped due to many reasons including premature fruit drop and disease.

  • I wonder how much fruit goes to waste which could otherwise be picked and consumed.

  • Are there any statistics on this?

  • Also, would it be sustainable to employ people to pick them up?


3 Answers 3


I have a small coffee farm, and I occasionally employ someone to pick the coffee. At commodity prices, it is hardly even economically sustainable to pick the coffee from the plant, much less get someone to pick up the ones that fall on the ground.

I personally, after 3 years of 'practice', can earn about 50 cents an hour picking coffee beans, probably up to double with a really good harvest. But of course even at 1 dollar an hour I am losing money by not doing almost literally anything else. More experienced coffee pickers in good harvests can earn 20 to 25 dollars a day picking coffee, and they are definitely not slowing down to pick any off the ground.

Each different fruit would have to be analyzed, but if industry standard is to drop it and leave it, its probably not viable to pick it up.

Value added products can also change the calculation. Instead of selling our beans as a commodity product, we process and roast them, yielding a higher value product. When I was a kid, my father and I collected fallen apples from trees in the suburbs to make applesauce with. It was worth it in that case to pick up that fallen fruit, although no one had picked through it first, and because we cleaned and boiled the apples it didn't matter that they had been dropped on the ground.


Only in family. Dropped fruit. From the tree the goats or pigs will eat. Early fruit with worms or such. Picking time the fruit is picked with long poles With a small bucket & rake on it. It is looked at. Put in the cart under the tree. That is took to the main road & sold. The boys 11 to 15 go up the trees to get what can not be reached drop it down to a person to catch it. Bad or damaged fruit is put in a pile on the ground. That is picked threw by the women for canning fruit. The rest is turned to mash. That is took back into the hills a bit. That is refined down into a drink. 1st run is saved for family use. 2nd run is harsh. That is if rumor true sold. These are family farms not large plantations. Were more automation is used. Some is also traded for rice, or other products with the neighbors. This is more than 1 farm at picking. Grandmothers, Mom, uncles, aunts, wives. So kind of in family. Family work together on labor. But very little waste. If you include animal feed from bad fruit, We even use the coconut hulls to cook with once dried. This is Philippines not America.

  • hmm... I understand.
    – Ankur S
    Apr 16, 2018 at 16:22

I live in an apple growing area. A viable farm has a lot of trees, so they use migrant labour to pick apples. You have to pay the labour more money than you get for the bruised fruit (it goes to the juice factory). The amount that falls on the ground varies by weather (rain, wind) and how much rain the trees got in summer. In a bad year it will hail and they are all juice apples. These get shaken down instead of picked.

The farmers' extended families pick up the fallen fruit and take it to the juicery in the evenings, where it is exchanged for juice vouchers. You see them with whole trailers full. The juicery will take even the smallest amounts, even a granny with a basketful will get paid. Sometimes farmers let the kindergarten do it and keep the cash.

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