Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
Currently, the very rapid growth of the world´s population has also increased the need for agricultural products. This need has paved the way for mechanization and a number of technological innovations to provide more products in agricultural applications. Accordingly, the importance of high-quality, reliable and efficient food consumption has begun to increase. In this regard, it has become mandatory to have certain standards in the production, distribution, procurement, sales and marketing steps in agricultural practices.
ITU | Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) is an agricultural certification system created in order for agricultural products to make a safe and healthy journey from soil to tables. Good agricultural practices that apply both in our country and in the world are a system that the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are also working on, creating agreements, rules and certain standards. The European Retailers Product Working Group (EUREP), the pioneer of good agricultural practices in Europe, has also prepared and implemented the EUREPGAP Protocol on this issue.
Good agricultural practices are also intertwined with the following standards, as they are based on high-quality production, the environment, occupational safety and hygienic conditions in the logistics processes after production:
* ISO 9001 Quality Management System
* ISO 14001 Environmental Management System
* OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Management System
* Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP: Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point•
Why Are Good Agricultural Practices Important?
With this system, agricultural products can be grown in healthier environmental and climatic conditions. Within the framework of good agricultural practices, there are no harmful microbes, poisons, etc. in the products of farmers engaged in production. This, in turn, allows people to consume healthier products and prevents the transmission of any diseases from food products.
These applications include not only agricultural areas, but also operations carried out in subsequent processes. In this way, we also see the quality standards required by good agricultural practices in steps such as processing post-harvest products, maintaining them under appropriate conditions (temperature, humidity, etc.), transporting and storing them. Thus, the shelf life of products is extended and the risk of spoilage is reduced.
Good agricultural practices provide many benefits not only for consumers, but also for producers. It is possible that farmers who implement these applications can make their production processes more efficient and safe. In addition, with the traceability and registration requirements of good agricultural practices, producers can produce more controlled, fast and easy production.
Some customers who purchase agricultural products may want to see the production facilities and processes of the people or institutions that produce these products closely in some cases. In this context, when production is carried out in accordance with these practices, customer or brokerage institutions such as supermarkets, distributors, dealers, etc. are prepared for inspections.
Good Agricultural Practices Trainings
Enterprises, public and private sector organizations involved in any step of the food supply process, from production to institutions that sell products to end users, must receive the necessary training on this issue. The participants of these trainings, which can be organized from the basic level to much more advanced levels, can have detailed information about both the steps of good agricultural practices and certification, consultancy, legal regulations, etc.
It is recommended that vegetable, animal and aquaculture producers, quality management systems officers, engineers, veterinarians, public health experts, etc. participate in these trainings.
Consulting and Certification of Good Agricultural Practices
Since the scope of these applications is very wide, it is recommended that businesses that provide products or services in this regard carry out their activities and especially certification processes with a consulting firm. At this point, the organization that provides consulting services supports the enterprise that plans to receive documents at the following points.
* Analyzing the processes of current agricultural practices
* Reporting on the processes carried out within the enterprise
• Providing trainings on the necessary subjects to the enterprise
• Making the enterprise ready for internal audits and official audits
• Making an official application for certification and following the application process
* Elimination of deficiencies identified after inspections
• Ensuring the continuity of the system created within the scope of ITU after the certification process
Enterprises can receive advice not only during the ITU certification process, but also after receiving the document on the correct implementation of the necessary steps and finding quick solutions to existing problems. Consulting firms provide services for obtaining documents from scratch for some companies, and in some cases they are also working to make this system operational, revise it, and make it permanent.