Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) are principles and techniques to improve agriculture’s sustainability, safety, and efficiency. In today’s world, where food security and environmental conservation are significant concerns, adopting GAPs is crucial for farmers and the agriculture industry. Whether you are:
- A small-scale farmer or a large-scale producer.
- Incorporating GAPs into your operations can bring numerous benefits, such as improved yields.
- Reduced waste.
- Greater food safety.
This blog post will explore the importance of GAPs and provide insights into some of the best practices you can adopt to enhance the quality and productivity of agriculture.
What are Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs)?
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) is a set of principles, regulations, and technical recommendations applicable to production, processing, and transportation addressing human health care, environment protection, and improving working conditions.
GAPs are practices that address environmental, economic, and social sustainability for on-farm processes, resulting in safe and quality food and non-food agricultural products.
Why is It Important?
- GAPs ensure safe and quality food production and supply and improve the production environment.
- Create new markets for agricultural products in the country and abroad. GAP is an essential guideline for decision-making at each step of the farm production process, followed or adopted to ensure sustainable environmental management and social acceptability.
- It creates a new market for agricultural products produced domestically and abroad.
What are The Principles of GAPs?
Based on four principles:
- Safe and high-quality food while doing so in a manner that is efficient and economically viable.
- The protection of the environment and the conservation of natural resources are essential.
- Create competitiveness, quality of life, and sustainable social development in a market economy.
- They ensure the safety, cleanliness, and well-being of staff and labor.
What are The Benefits of Good Agricultural Principles?
- Adopting proper GAP will help increase the production of safe and quality agro-food and other agricultural products.
- Improving the production environment ensures the supply of safe and quality food products to the consumer.
- Provides specific regulations and knowledge on environmental, economic, and social protection of agricultural activities that integrate field agricultural production, processing, and transportation management.
- Encourages the creation of new and competitive markets and improves the quality of life of producers.
- They are conserving natural resources, protecting workers’ health, and improving the working environment.
- Nationally and internationally harmonized regulations, standards, and guidelines, proper dosing of pesticides, and maximum limits for contamination of agro-foods and agricultural products all help to reduce the risk of other chemicals and inorganic and physical contamination.
What are The Principles of Good Agricultural Practices Regarding Farm Operations?
Good Agricultural Practices for Fruit and Vegetable Crops is based on seven topics, and each case clearly describes the need for GAP practices and limiting contamination at every stage of production.
The components of GAP are as follows:
- Farm site selection
- Farm environment and production activities
- Water quality and irrigation
- grain storage
- Pre- and post-operative management
- Worker health and cleanliness
- Record keeping.
Farm Site Selection:
- They are assessing the agricultural suitability of the land selected for the farm and knowing the previous history of use to get an idea of potential risks.
- You should assess Environmental impact, remediation, and more cost-effective development strategies.
- Easy availability of labor, physical infrastructure (electricity, water supply communication system), soil, climate, and the market system should be ensured while selecting the farm site.
- You should not contaminate farm soil with harmful heavy metals or heavy metals and should be at tolerable levels. The level of heavy metals should be confirmed by soil testing every three years from an accredited laboratory and presented to the inspection team.
- Farmland should never be allowed for non-agricultural purposes as it may be contaminated with microorganisms and toxic chemicals.
- Farmland storage and processing areas must be clean and tidy.
- Farm waste, excrement, and weeds should be effectively disposed of away from the cultivated land.
- The irrigation system should be such that the water flows in sufficient quantity and there are no obstructions.
- It would help if you always kept all types of agricultural machinery associated with crop cultivation, collection, and storage processes in good working order.
- It is important to have clear signage indicating the specific crop fields.
- No livestock shall be kept or allowed to enter agricultural land, storage, and processing areas.
- You must follow effective procedures and specific schedules to keep processing areas or safes clean and tidy.
- I have to provide standard toilets for the use of working workers. But it should be far from the water source.
The Principles of Good Agricultural Practices Regarding Farm Operations:
Use of implants
- The crop or variety planted must be comprehensive regarding area and production targets.
- Quality seeds or seedlings are highly germinating, pure, balanced, and vigorous and must be procured from authorized and trusted sources.
- Must have moderate to high resistance/tolerance against significant diseases and pests, palatability, long shelf life, market competitiveness, and ability to withstand transport injury/stress.
Use of Fertilizer
- Organic matter/dung or human excreta shall not be used raw.
- You must keep organic fertilizers in a controlled place, and the materials used must be clean.
- Natural manure and chicken droppings must be well-decomposed.
- You must follow fertilizer quantity and application rules properly.
- The fertilizer level should be fixed based on the soil test.
The Principles of GAPs Regarding Water Quality And Irrigation:
- Water quality is essential for microbial contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- You must identify the primary and indirect sources of irrigation water.
- Water from ponds or other sources must be:
- No manure or weed infestation can occur.
- It would help if you kept all animals except fish free.
- Water from agricultural land cannot go directly or as drains to ponds or other sources.
What are GAPs in Crop Protection?
Use of Pesticides
- Pesticides are harmful chemicals that are toxic to the field and indoor insects, and their inconsistent/ uncontrolled management, application, and storage can be highly hazardous to humans and animals.
- It would help to strictly use pesticides to limit human health risks and prevent environmental pollution.
- Correct pesticide selection is critical to effective pest control, and identification of affected pests should be done before pesticide selection.
- Only apply the amount of insecticide that will completely control the pest when necessary.
- Pesticides must be applied in approved quantities, in the correct conditions, in compliance with all regulations, application rules, and intervals, and only by authorized personnel.
- Mixing of pesticides should be done using clean water of good quality in a designated, safe, and ventilated area.
- Pesticides should never be stored and applied near water sources.
- It would help if you only used Mixtures or cocktails of multiple pesticides with specific instructions from the manufacturer.
- Pesticide users must receive training and use protective equipment such as gloves, masks, waterproof clothing, hats, and shoes according to the instructions for use.
- Pesticide users must have adequate knowledge of safety and application regulations and always have first aid supplies ready.
The Good Agricultural Practices Regarding Harvesting And Storage:
- The quality of agricultural products largely depends on using acceptable and correct methods during harvesting, processing, and storage.
- It’s essential to strictly adhere to pesticides’ pre-harvest interval and withdrawal period when harvesting.
- You should store agricultural produce in a place with proper temperature and humidity control.
- Agricultural products must be stored, transported, and marketed in appropriate containers.
- You should adequately have farmers and field workers trained to determine crop maturity indices.
Regarding Worker Health and Cleanliness:
- It is essential to train farm workers/workers on the understanding of chemical, physical and abiotic contamination, and the work environment.
- You must wear gloves, masks, waterproof clothing, hats, and shoes during farm work.
- It would help if you kept farm toilets clean immediately and supplies of necessary materials for change.
- You should install clean food, water, and hand washing taps inside the packing house.
- Ensure hygienic/quality food space.
- Employees should undergo regular health checks, and you should always have first aid kits ready.
Good Agricultural Practices Regarding Information Collection:
- It is crucial to keep information on the production process transparent, accurate, and updated.
- It is essential to establish procedures that enable tracking information from the farm to the sale of any given operation.
- You must store all this information for at least two years.
I am Gaushoul Agam
𝐂𝐨-𝐅𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫 & 𝐂𝐄𝐎
I am an experienced Horticulture Officer in the Department of Agricultural Extension in Bangladesh. I am committed to improving agriculture and farming.
I created ToAgriculture to address global food safety concerns. These concerns are caused by a growing population, diminishing farmland, and the impact of climate change on agriculture. I assist readers in learning modern farming techniques.
I also help them control pests and diseases. Additionally, I guide managing agriculture sustainably. All of this is aimed at creating a better and more successful future in farming.
I have experience in field crops and horticulture crops. I know about fruit and vegetable farming, managing pests and diseases, irrigation, and grafting. Come with me as I share my knowledge and experiences to help you create a better future.