ASEAN sets course of action for ASEAN good agricultural practices
Jakarta, Indonesia (23 January) -- The Meeting of the Ad-hoc Task Force on ASEAN Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), comprising experts from the ASEAN Member States, gathered at the ASEAN Secretariat on 20-22 January 2009 to work on a regional strategy to facilitate the implementation of ASEAN GAP for fresh fruit and vegetables.
ASEAN GAP is a collection of principles to apply for on-farm production and post-production processes, resulting in safe and healthy food and non-food agricultural products, while taking into account economic, social and environmental sustainability. Developed in 2007 under the ASEAN-Australia Development Cooperation Program, ASEAN GAP is a voluntary standard for good agriculture practices for fresh fruit and vegetables. It consists of four modules, namely, food safety, environmental management, worker health, safety and welfare, and produce quality.
Speaking at the Meeting, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community, Mr S. Pushpanathan said, "ASEAN GAP has been identified as an important measure guided by the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint to facilitate greater intra-regional and international trade. It is a flagship initiative to enhance the competitiveness of food and agriculture sectors and to better position ASEAN food and agriculture products in the global market and trade."
"The challenges now lie in promoting the awareness and implementation of ASEAN GAP, strengthening national GAP programmes, raising recognition of ASEAN GAP at major world markets, and engaging the private sector to adopt and further develop ASEAN GAP," he added.
To address these challenges, the Meeting concluded with a strategic plan and project proposals on sustaining the development of and enhancing ASEAN GAP, which will be submitted to the ASEAN Sectoral Working Group on Crops for endorsement in June 2009. The plan identified initial activities to be launched in 2009, which are to raise awareness of ASEAN GAP, benchmark national GAP with ASEAN GAP and enhance private sector engagement. (PIA) [top]