GOOD AGRICULTURE PRACTICES
Agriculture is the mainstay of Indian economy. India’s basic strength lies in agriculture. But its vast potential has not been fully exploited. While World Trade Organization (WTO) poses some challenges, it also offers tremendous worldwide market opportunities for Indian agriculture produce. This market potential can be realized by reforming agriculture and making its produce internationally competitive in quality and food safety.
To enable farm produce to be internationally competitive innovative farming practices incorporating the concept of globally accepted Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) within the framework of commercial agricultural production for long term improvement and sustainability is essential. GAP in addition to improving the yield and quality of the products, also has environmental and social dimensions. Implementation of GAP would promote optimum utilization of water resources such as pesticides, fertilizers, water and eco-friendly agriculture. Its social dimension would be to protect the agricultural workers’ health from improper use of chemicals and pesticides. It is a particularly opportune time to promote GAP when second generation of reforms in agriculture which would have a
Critical impact on Indian agriculture ,are planned by the Indian Government.
There are different systems and standards available for control measures in value addition through processing of food meant for human consumption. Although grade standards on size, shape, colour and local preferences are available for most of the fruits and vegetables marketed and consumed in India, their quality in terms of maturity standards, residues of pesticides and other contaminants, microbial loads, etc. have not been adequately addressed. The Indian Good Agricultural Practices (INDGAP) takes into account not only the quality and quantity of the produce obtained from a unit area but also the care is taken in integrating preharvest practices like soil & water management, nutrient management and pest management, harvesting, post harvest handling and other logistics. It is therefore necessary to have a comprehensive view while defining control and compliance systems for
different farm produce covering horticulture, floriculture, food grains, etc.The areas where appropriate control measures need to be strengthened are farms producing raw material such as food grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, floriculture, etc. to ensure sustained supply of produce of the desirable quality.
With the opening up of the world market, there is a flow of trade in these agricultural products. It is, therefore, necessary to define certain minimum standards with a well-defined certification and accreditation mechanism for the implementation of INDGAP to facilitate national and international trade in farm produce. Implementation of INDGAP is voluntary and non-discriminatory to the growers.
For the purposes of preparing this document, Global GAP standards , best practices, prevalent industry standards and related ISO standards and guides have been taken into consideration.