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DFNet Workshop – Global/ Local GAP Certification to Enhance Market Opportunities—Challenges and Strategies

Rationale

Fruits are diverse and rich in vitamins, color, flavors, and tastes that provide nutrients, increase disease prevention, and sensory pleasure to humans. At least 200-300 grams daily fruit consumption is recommended; however, more than half of the global population cannot consume enough fruits to obtain health. Global fruit production is steadily increasing, with the most increases in tropical fruits, such as pineapple, mango, papaya, litchi, and dragon fruits. Tropical fruits are mainly produced by smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries, which helps farmers’ incomes and rural development.

More and more Asian countries like Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia have been dedicated to international recognition of their national G.A.P. for export expansion to potential high-end markets like the EU. To enhance opportunities for small-scale producers to enter the international mainstream markets, and to narrow the gap of standards between domestic and international G.A.P.s, many governments are planning, developing and promoting G.A.P.s that integrate and harmonize the standards of the existing domestic and international G.A.P.s.

With the MOFA funded Project entitled “Enhancing International Cooperation on Tropical Fruit Value Chains for Global Markets,” FFTC organized a project workshop to address these issues in partnership with the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), Tai-Chung District Agriculture Research Extension Station (TCDARES) of Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture, and DFNet partners from Asian-Pacific countries.  

The 2021 DFNet Workshop was designed to be a one-day forum to discuss the challenges and opportunities of certification of global/ local good agriculture practices in tropical fruit industry. The Workshop invited DFNet members and other international experts to share their views on the workshop topics from international and country-specific perspectives. The workshop also invited video presentations, demonstrating technology and farms related to GAP. Unfortunately, due to the current COVID-19 situation in Taiwan, the initially planned workshop venue at National Chung-Hsing University, Taichung for in-person participation and the one-day field trip to visit GLOBALG.A.P certified traders and farms in Taiwan had to be canceled.

Objectives

  • Share information among Asia-Pacific countries on the recent development of good agricultural practices in the fruit industry
  • Exchange views on the challenges, opportunities, and cost-benefits of GAP certifications and its implication for smallholder farmers in Asia 
  • Facilitate international cooperation in strengthening the tropical fruit industry

Themes

Session 1: Global/regional perspectives

Session 2: Country perspectives (dragon fruits and other tropical fruits)

Session 3: Video presentation

Session 4 –Panel Discussion I (Asian-pacific countries)

Topic 1:   Farmer association/ government/ cooperative assisted GAP development

Topic 2:   GAP, traceability, and blockchain

Session 4 – Panel discussion II (in Chinese)

Topic 3:   GAP certification, cost and benefit

Topic 4:   Integration of GAPs – challenges, opportunities, and plans

Program highlights

The workshop was collaborated with DFNet members, TARI-Fengshan, and TCDARES.

Eight experts from seven countries (New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, India, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam) from the public and private sectors were invited to share their knowledges and views. The online workshop was mainstreamed live on two platforms—the Cisco Webex platform (max 200 participants) and the FFTC Facebook Pages in two languages - English and Chinese. The presentation materials include 8 PPTs, 10x2 presentation videos (English and Chinese), 3 GAP presentation video (English), were generated and uploaded in the SlideShare and DFNet YouTube channels.

Workshop video can be watched at: 

English Channel: https://www.facebook.com/events/135897241843252 

Chinese Channel: https://www.facebook.com/events/186223850067191

DFNet Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCklNWc3t7hUdhw00qQF8n8g

More workshop information can be viewed in the workshop website:

https://sites.google.com/fftc.org.tw/2021dfnetworkshop/home

Major takeaways from the presentations

Keynote speaker from T&G Global Ltd., New Zealand, formerly working for PFR, introduced the major steps of developing international markets for new fruit varieties, including developing international markets, electing new markets, products, establishing supply, sale/ marketing and distribution, and strategies. The keynote suggested setup trails and evaluation of products in production, post-harvest and consumer preference to generate data/evidence. This will provide information to all parties on how to grow the new variety, where to grow it, productivity, and quality standards.   

Mr. OHTA from Creative House Cooperative, Japan has been an active DFNet member since Phase I project. He introduced GAP certification program in Japan, benefit of GAP certification in value-added services and suggested that (1) GAP certificate can help farmers and convince consumers in food safety, (2) Farmers can create branding of dragon fruit based on credibility with GAP certification, (3) Marketing initiatives will also help farmers add more value on dragon fruit businesses.

Speaker form Zespri Group, Taiwan shared the story about how GAP helps Zespri take kiwifruit to the world. The presentation highlighted the importance of Zespri GAP development in response to GLOBALGAP for accessing global markets and focus on consumer preference and requirements.

Speaker from ICAR, India, introduced various quality standards in Indian food chain (from HACCP, GMP, GAP, then to GMP again), and then gave a focus on IndoGAP, particularly,  the benchmarking of the IndoGAP to GLOBALGAP to take the complexity out of certification to reduce costs, administration, time and effort, with producers, suppliers, and retailers, all profiting from the benefits. Limitation for small farmers to adopt GAP remains and strategies including (1) promoting farmers produce organization, (2) farmer’s clusters, (3) one-district-one product model (collective farms)

PhilGAP was introduced by speaker from BPI-LBNCRDPSC, the Philippines. PhilGAP is aligned to ASEAN GAP and include 4 modules. Currently there are 360 farmers certified and among them, 23 are the dragon fruit farms. Complied to requirements for possible market linkage to Australia for dragon fruit and separate section for PhilGAP certified produce and products in supermarket was suggested. Low adoption rate of PhilGAP among farms remains the challenge.

Member of Northern Thai Fruit Entrepreneur Trade Association, Thailand, mentioned the issues and frustrations about GAP certification based on number of farms, instead of size, and different import/export quota controls in different counties. The development of GAP should consider farmers’ benefits and participation to reduce the barriers and willingness of adopting GAP. The certification should be able to support farmers than exploitation of peasants.

Taiwan speaker from TARI-Fengshan introduced the transition of GAP development in Taiwan starting with the GAP in 2004, TGAP, Law of APVM, 3C1Q and the present TGAP Plus (TAP).  The current TAP system emphasizes the safety and sustainability of agricultural products, and implements the traceability of information disclosure, but it is in a voluntary basis. Government policies of upholding food safety and promoting sustainable agriculture, must rely on a systematic regulation framework, risk management and industrial counseling as principal focus instead of an accreditation system on a voluntary basis.

SOFRI speaker from Vietnam provided an overview of dragon fruit production in Vietnam and its oversea markets. Quality and safety assessment/control with GAP and HACCP should be key parts along the supply chain. Steps in development of GAP system for dragon fruit in Vietnam taking into practical issues and barriers in the field and farmer’s adoption process were presented.  

Session 4 –Panel Discussion I (Asian-pacific countries)

Topic 1: Farmer association/ government/ cooperative assisted GAP development

Topic 2: GAP, traceability, and blockchain

The discussion concluded that

  • Farmer association, vertical cooperation, farmer clusters and group certification are effective and feasible approaches to help small holder farmers’ adoption of national/ regional/ global GAP.
  • It is important to let farmer see the immediate benefits and values from GAP implementation to enhance the adoption rate.
  • GLOBALGAP is not as important as other GAPs for Thailand as China is the main export country.
  • GAPs are complicated. Whiling developing local/ national GAP program, it is better to align with regional/ global GAP. Japan GAP and Zespri GAP are good examples. PhilGAP, IndiGAP and TGAP Plus are also implemented toward this direction.  
  • Using blockchain technology for traceability and data security is possible, but simple and user-friendly technique would be practical and feasible. Zespri (Sean) echoed the point and they have developed a robust and user-friendly system in the cloud for traceability system. Vietnam tried the blockchain for dragon fruit traceability some years ago and found it very challenged and not practical.

Session 4 – Panel discussion II (in Chinese)

Topic 3: GAP certification, cost and benefit

Topic 4: Integration of GAPs – challenges, opportunities, and plans

Four panels gave a 5-10 minutes of talk to share their viewpoints from farmer perspective, government and promotion, technical and business aspects.

  • Production: Reason and incentives to obtain GAP, type of GAP to choose, advantages and benefits after implementation, difficulties in implementation.
  • Government officer: opportunities for implementation of GAP, TGAP and GGAP, government’s role in promoting GAP, obtaining resource and allocation
  • Academic/ technical aspect: status of international GAP, challenges and strategies of developing GAP addressing international markets, brief introduction of implementing GAP by small farmers.
  • Industry aspect: auditing and monitoring practices, common problems and opportunities.

Suggestions and conclusions

  • Help smallholder farmers adopt the national/regional/global GAP through effective and feasible approaches such as the use of farmer associations, vertical cooperation, farmer clusters and group certification.
  • Allow the farmers to see for themselves the immediate benefits and values from GAP implementation to enhance the adoption rate.
  • Align with regional/ global GAP while developing national/ local GAP, Japan GAP and Zespri GAP are good examples. PhilGAP, IndiGAP and TGAP Plus are also implemented toward this direction.
  • Consider using the blockchain technology for traceability and data security although simple and user-friendly technique would be practical and feasible.
  • Focus on systematic regulation framework, risk management and industrial counseling to uphold government policies on food safety and promotion of sustainable agriculture.

Outcomes

About 316 people registered in the workshop, including participants from the Philippines (97), Taiwan (79), Malaysia (35), India (23), Vietnam (21), Indonesia (9) and other 20 more countries. About 26% belong to the private sector and 8-10% farmer associates. The online workshop was mainstreamed live on two platforms—the Cisco Webex platform (max. 100 seats) and the FFTC Facebook Page in Chinese and English. The Facebook video stream reached more than 1,360 views.  A feedback survey form was sent to all participants the day after the workshop. The majority of the respondents (>95%) were satisfied with the workshop in all aspects (logistics, content, and relevance). About 40-50 participants provided additional comments and suggested future workshop topics.  (See details in the Annex)

Related News

Aug. 04, 2021 2021 DFNet Workshop displayed Opportunities and Challenges of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) on Global/Local Fruit Markets

program

Tentative Program
Paper:
AgriculturalPolicy DragonFruitNetwork
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