Public Discussion on Good Agriculture Practices Standard
4th December, 2019: The need for Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) was identified by National Agricultural Marketing and Development Corporation (NAMDEVCO) as essential in building and assuring food safety and quality for primary production of fresh fruits and vegetables. Compliance with the requirements for GAP will not only assure consumer health and safety but will also enhance the international reputation of Trinidad and Tobago for producing good quality and safe fruits and vegetables. This can subsequently have a positive impact on the trade and competitiveness of the country’s primary agricultural products.
It is therefore incumbent on the owners of farms and other types of primary food establishments to demonstrate leadership and commitment with respect to the establishment, implementation and maintenance of good agricultural practices.
Speaking at the Public Stakeholder Forum on the Draft National Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Standard jointly hosted by NAMDEVCO and the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standards (TTBS), Mrs. Carla Marcelle -Boyce, Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries who delivered the feature address on behalf of the Minister Clarence Rambharat said, a modern and competitive agricultural sector is one of the main pillars of diversification and economic growth in Trinidad and Tobago. The sector success depends primarily on its ability to access both regional and international markets through adherence to emerging agricultural health and food safety requirements.
She said that over the years, countries have become stringent when it comes to safety and quality of food that it produced and even more so of food that is imported; and as such, there are several regulatory systems that are currently place that provides checks and balance protection for public health and food safety. This she says, should not be seen as a technical barrier to trade but should be viewed from the angle of protection of public health and safety and the prevention of foodborne illnesses.
Mrs. Marcelle- Boyce also noted that there was tremendous work to be done in order to improve the food control system in this country and she lauded NAMDEVCOs effort who she cited as a “champion” for the development and implementation of good agricultural practices. She urged all stakeholders to treat agricultural health and food safety as “everyone’s business”, and directed her focus to the importance of what happens on the farms as it has the propensity to affect both the safety and quality of products along the value chain.
Speakers at the forum which took place on Wednesday 4th December, 2019 at the Couva/Point Lisa Chamber of Commerce also included, NAMDEVCOs Chairman Mr. Dennis Ramdeen, Chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Bureau of Standard, Mr. Lawford Dupres, Inter – American Institute for Cooperation In Agriculture (IICA) Representative to Trinidad and Tobago, Ms. Diana Francis, CEO of NAMDEVO, Mrs. Nirmala Debysingh-Persad and Chief Chemist of the Food and Health Division, Ministry of Health, Mr. Farz Khan.
This standard is intended to form the basis for the National GAP (TTGAP) Certification Programme to be implemented by NAMDEVCO. It has been issued for public comment with a deadline by end of January 2020.
For more information on the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Standard, please contact the National Agricultural Marketing and Development Corporation (NAMDEVCO) at email: email@example.com.