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Good Agricultural Practices

Good Agricultural Practices in Vegetable and Fruit Production

Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) are a set of principles and techniques aimed at improving the sustainability, safety, and efficiency of agriculture. In today’s world, where food security and environmental conservation are major concerns, adopting GAPs is crucial for farmers and the agriculture industry as a whole. 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, and greater food safety. This blog post will explore the importance of GAPs and provide insights into some of the best practices that can be adopted 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 transporting addressing human health care, environment protection, and improvement of working conditions.

GAP are practices that address environmental, economic, and social sustainability for on-farm processes and result in safe and quality food and non-food agricultural products.

Why It is Important?

    • G A P ensures safe and quality food production and supply and improve the production environment.
    • Creates new markets for agricultural products in the country and abroad. GAP serves as an important guideline for decision-making at each step of the overall agricultural production process, which is followed or adopted to ensure sustainable environmental management and social acceptability.
    • It creates a new market for agricultural products produced in the country and abroad.

What are The Principles of GAPs?

Based on 4 principles:

    1. Production of safe and quality food in an efficient and economically viable manner.
    2. Environment protection and conservation of natural resources.
    3. Creating competitiveness, quality of life, and sustainable social development in a market economy.
    4. Safety, cleanliness, and staff/labor welfare.

What are The Benefits of Good Agricultural Principles?

    • Adoption of proper GAP will help in increasing 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.
    • 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 7 topics and each topic clearly describes the need for GAP practices and limiting contamination at every stage of production.

The components of GAP are as follows:

    1. Farm site selection
    2. Farm environment and production activities
    3. Water quality and irrigation
    4. grain storage
    5. Pre- and post-operative management
    6. Worker health and cleanliness
    7. Record keeping.

Farm Site Selection:

    1. 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.
    2. Environmental impact, remediation, and more cost-effective development strategies should be assessed.
    3. Easy availability of labor, physical infrastructure (electricity, water supply communication system), soil, climate, and above all market system should be ensured while selecting the farm site.
    4. Farm soil should not be contaminated 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 3 years from an accredited laboratory and presented to the inspection team.
    5. Farmland should never be allowed to be used for non-agricultural purposes as it may be contaminated with microorganisms and toxic chemicals.

Farm Environment:

    1. Farmland storage and processing areas must be clean and tidy.
    2. There should be effective disposal of farm waste, excrement, and weeds away from the cultivated land.
    3. The irrigation system should be such that the water flows in sufficient quantity and there are no obstructions.
    4. All types of agricultural machinery associated with crop cultivation, collection, and storage processes should be kept in good working order at all times.
    5. Specific crop fields should be clearly signposted.

Farm Maintenance:

    1. No livestock shall be kept or allowed to enter agricultural land, storage, and processing areas.
    2. Effective procedures and specific schedules must be followed for keeping processing areas or safes clean and tidy.
    3. I have to provide standard toilets for the use of working workers. But it should not be near the water source.

The Principles of Good Agricultural Practices Regarding Farm Operations:

Use of implants

    1. The crop or variety planted must be comprehensive in terms of area and production targets.
    2.  Quality seeds or seedlings are highly germinating, pure, balanced, and vigorous and must be procured from authorized and trusted sources.
    3.  Must have moderate to high resistance/tolerance against major diseases and pests, palatability, long shelf life, market competitiveness, and ability to withstand transport injury/stress.

Use of Fertilizer

    1. Organic matter/dung or human excreta shall not be used raw.
    2. Organic fertilizers must be kept in a controlled place and the materials used must be clean.
    3. Natural manure and chicken droppings must be well-decomposed.
    4. Fertilizer quantity and application rules must be followed properly.
    5. The fertilizer level should be fixed based on the soil test.

The Principles of GAPs Regarding Water Quality And Irrigation:

  1. Water quality is very important for microbial contamination of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  2. The main and indirect sources of irrigation water must be identified.
  3. Water from ponds or other sources must be:
      • No excreta or weed infestation can occur.
      • All animals except fish should be kept free.
      • Water from agricultural land cannot go directly or as drains to ponds or other sources.

What is GAPs in Crop Protection? 

Use of Pesticides

    1. Pesticides are harmful chemicals that are toxic to the field and indoor insects and their inconsistent/uncontrolled management, application and storage can be extremely hazardous to humans and animals.
    2. The use of pesticides should be strictly followed to limit human health risks and prevent environmental pollution.
    3.  Correct pesticide selection is critical to effective pest control and identification of affected pests should be done prior to pesticide selection.
    4.  When necessary, only apply the amount of insecticide that will completely control the pest.
    5.  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.
    6.  Mixing of pesticides should be done using clean water of good quality in a designated, safe, and ventilated area.
    7.  Pesticides should never be stored and applied near water sources.
    8. Mixtures or cocktails of multiple pesticides should not be applied without specific instructions from the manufacturer.
    9.  Pesticide users must receive training and must use protective equipment such as gloves, masks, waterproof clothing, hats, and shoes according to the instructions for use.
    10.  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:

    1.  The quality of agricultural products largely depends on the use of acceptable and correct methods during harvesting, processing, and storage.
    2.  Pre-harvest interval and withdrawal period of pesticides should be strictly followed during harvest.
    3.  Agricultural produce should be stored in a place with proper temperature and humidity control.
    4.  Agricultural products must be stored, transported, and marketed in appropriate containers.
    5.  Farmers and field workers should be given proper training in determining crop maturity indices.

Regarding Worker Health and Cleanliness:

    1.  It is important to train farm workers/workers on the understanding of chemical, physical and abiotic contamination and the work environment.
    2.  Gloves, masks, waterproof clothing, hats, and shoes must be worn during farm work.
    3.  Farm toilets should be kept clean immediately and supplies of necessary materials for change should be ensured.
    4.  Clean food water and hand washing taps should be installed inside the packing house.
    5.  Ensure hygienic/quality food space.
    6.  Employees should undergo regular health checks and first aid kits should be kept ready at all times.

Good Agricultural Practices Regarding Information Collection:

    •  Transparent, accurate, and up-to-date information on the production process must be maintained.
    •  Procedures should be adopted so that all information can be followed from farm to sale of any particular operation.
    •  All this information must be stored for at least two years.


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