GlobalGAP is a farm certification scheme that promotes good agricultural practices and the production of primary products in a safe manner while taking into account worker welfare and health.
What is GlobalGAP?
Global Good Agricultural Practice (Global GAP) is an internationally recognised certification standard that promotes Good Agricultural Practices under a strict set of procedures focusing on agricultural produce, livestock, and aquaculture. Global Gap set out international standards to safeguard food safety, animal welfare, and environmental protection. Global GAP’s objectives are safe, sustainable agriculture worldwide that guarantees retailers and consumers standardised criteria on food safety and hygiene methods like HACCP while considering wellbeing, protection, and safety of employees.
Global Gap fruit and vegetable standards are based on good cultural practices in farming such as soil management, pest control of the produce pre and postharvest, and packing and storage practices. The compliance with the standards about the sourcing of livestock feedlots, on-farm handling of livestock and transportation is outlined by Global GAP under livestock certification. Under aquaculture, Global GAP complies with the Global Seafood Sustainable Initiative and sets standards concerning legal compliance, food safety, safety and health of workers, risk assessment on social practices, animal welfare, and environmental and ecological care.
Why do producers need to implement GlobalGAP?
Many retailers are demanding their suppliers and producers to adopt principles of Good Agricultural Practice that are regulated to promote good food hygiene and safety and prioritise consumer health. For this reason, Global GAP has become one of the most popular standards required by retailers and consumers for primary farming. Global GAP offers recognised and respected certification standards on agricultural food crops, livestock, and Aquaculture.
To become Global GAP certified, producers can either apply to a certification body individually or as a group by implementing a quality management system following the Global GAP requirements. It is recommended that producers seek assistance from accredited farm assurer consultants trained and approved by Global GAP, such as ASC Consultants, to prepare the farm’s audit by accredited Certification Bodies (CB).
Benefits of GlobalGAP Certification
Producers can benefit immensely from implementing Global GAP. They benefit by employing cost-effective processes that improve product quality which requires that producers use certified raw materials. Furthermore, producers are encouraged to use modern farming practices that minimise environmental harm, reduce health risks, and promote safe food production. Moreover, producers get market access and trace their product along the value chain, trade, or collaborate with other Global GAP compliant producers using their Global Gap Number (GGN).
On the other hand, buyers enjoy obtaining certified food safety products with the absence of chemical, biological and physical hazards that value consumers’ health. Accessibility to a network of certified producers that are easily traceable, which promotes integrity, transparency, and cost-effective measures that need no intermediary, is one of the benefits that a buyer enjoys under Global GAP.
To ensure safe food and good health, Global GAP promotes the control of pests to minimum levels by employing Integrated Pest Management (IPM), Integrated Crop Management, Quality Management System (QMS), and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP). For food producers, it is crucial to be Global GAP when targeting an international market or planning to export food produce. Moreover, Global Gap provides easy access to the local and international market, improved internal audits, and good quality products.
In addition to the existing Global GAP certified standards, In July 2015, Version 5, an Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) certificate, was published, which subsequently came into effect in 2016. This version 5 has gone under a series of updates until recently in 2020 where an application for V5.4 was logged to make it Good Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) compliant for fruit and vegetable, and Aquaculture. Producers need to note that only V5.3 and V5.4 are GFSI compliant. Therefore, all export producers serving the GFSI market must attain either of these certificates to comply. The difference between V5.3 and V5.4 are procedures and regulations regarding Aquaculture and fruits and vegetable criteria.
In conclusion, Global GAP benefits food producers remarkably by creating access to the international market for export opportunities, obtaining retailer confidence by meeting food safety demands eliminating health risks, and sourcing raw material from a certified pool of suppliers. By winning consumer confidence, farmers’ profitability is tremendously increased while auditing assessment increases efficiency towards sustainable, environmentally friendly, and globally recognised food safety standards.