May. 24, 2007
Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) in Asia and Oceania
The 21st century ushered in a new paradigm in agricultural production, where it is no longer just about producing for production's sake but more about ensuring safe and quality produce for an increasingly discriminating consumer base worldwide. The occurrences of pesticide-contaminated food, the bird flu outbreak, and the mad cow disease, among other food-related issues, have raised international cooperation to ensure the safety and reliability of food production systems. In Asia and Oceania, where more and more economies are growing at rapid scale, food safety in all stages of production, from the farm to the consumer's table, has become a priority concern, following the lead of Europe and the United States. Thus, a number of countries in the region have set out a common commitment toward good agricultural practices (GAPs) and innovative information and communication technology (ICT)-based traceability schemes to guarantee sustainable agriculture and food safety. In light of the common goal toward the preservation of agricultural environments and the attainment of food safety and quality, the Food and Fertilizer Technology Center (FFTC) for the Asian and Pacific Region, together with the National Agriculture and Bio-oriented Research Organization (NARO) and the National Agricultural Research Center (NARC) of Japan, organized the international seminar on Technology Development for Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) in Asia and Oceania held on October 24-28, 2005 in Tsukuba, Japan. The Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Science (JIRCAS) also provided generous support by sponsoring the participation of some of the speakers during the seminar. This volume of proceedings is a repository of the knowledge and information shared and exchanged among the participants from Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines Thailand, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Basically, the key issues discussed during the seminar were the following: 1) basic concepts and requirements of GAP to assure food safety in all stages of on-farm and post-production processes; 2) present status and perspectives on GAP and traceability in Asia and Oceania; 3) research and development for environmental impact assessment and risk management; 4) and information technologies to harness GAP and traceability. Given the differences in the level of technological advancements among countries, the papers presented show a variety of opportunities and challenges in the adoption and practice of GAPs and in the establishment of traceability schemes in the food supply chain. While some countries are way ahead in ensuring consumer confidence with their GAP and traceability systems, others have only gone as far as providing legislation and carrying out sporadic GAP applications. Nonetheless, progress is under way and these proceedings provide important insights into building the capacities of national programs to promote the adoption of innovative technologies and practices to sustain agricultural resources and ensure food safety in countries whether developed or developing. We are therefore looking at a future where GAPs and innovative ICT-based technologies shall bring positive differences in the quality of life in countries that adopt them.