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Trade and Policy

The concept of good agricultural practices (GAPs) has evolved in recent years in the context of a rapidly changing and globalizing food economy and as a result of multiple concerns about food production and security, food safety and quality and the environmental and social sustainability of agriculture. Broadly defined, a GAP approach applies recommendations and available knowledge to addressing environmental, economic and social sustainability for on-farm production and post-harvest processes resulting in safe and healthy food. The use of GAPs in the production of fresh produce is essential to prevent pathogen contamination.

Integrated agricultural production combines the concept of pest and diseases control with a system of rational fertilizing and variety selection suited to the technical itineraries proposed. Nevertheless, we must bear in mind that the ultimate judge is always the consumer, who wants to buy healthy, good quality, reasonably priced produce. However, the premise must be accepted that pesticide consumption will continue and even increase and that the first task will be to find ways of regulating their use, with the primary aim of reducing risks to humans (operators and consumers alike) and the environment and producing good quality, i.e. produce complying with Phytosanitary Quality Standards. Today’s consumer expects a year-round supply of healthy and, above all, safe food.

When implementing GAPs in field operations, key areas of concern are amongst others the use of land, soil and water in an integrated and risk sensitive approach as well as control of wildlife and pests, proper worker hygiene, sanitation, harvesting and cooling practices.