Fifty-two Jamaican banana and plantain farmers have achieved Global G.A.P. (Good Agricultural Practices) Certification, following a series of capacity building training along with local and international audits. Global G.A.P. is an international pre-farm gate standard certifying food safety, and quality covering the entire production cycle from planting until the produce leaves the farm.
Making the announcement at a congratulatory event held recently, Mrs Janet Conie, General Manager of The Banana Board beamed with delight at what she termed a ‘great public performance‘. “It is the way forward for the Banana and Plantain Industry. We cannot be sustainable unless we perform at the highest global standards,” Mrs Conie stated.
With increasing global concerns for food safety and quality, GlobalG.A.P. certification guarantees consumers’ confidence and resolves apprehensions regarding food safety and traceability. GlobalG.A.P. requires producers to establish complete control and monitoring systems on farms that address environmental, economic and social sustainability for on-farm processes that promote worker welfare while at the same time reducing the risk of pollution from pesticides, chemicals and other food contaminants.
There are strict regulations about pesticide storage, usage and residue limits. It is, therefore, important to maintain detailed records and be able to justify all production practices on the farm.
“What this means is that farms should see their performance improving while they eliminate waste and boost competitiveness. Global G.A.P Certification has opened up the way for farmers to enter global markets and capitalise on the increased opportunities. Larger markets are enforcing stringent requirements for entry. Products are registered and can be traced back to the particular farm where they were grown as each farm is given a unique identification number”, said Mrs Conie, as she emphasised the benefits to be derived from achieving certification.
Global G.A.P. certification forms part of a larger EUR €4.4 Million project, The Banana Board Grant Contract for Technical Services 2 supported by the European Union through the Jamaica Banana Accompanying Measures for the Banana and Plantain Industry.
The overall initiative seeks to revitalise the Industry and provide an enabling environment for improving production and productivity by 30% over 2011 figures, sufficient market penetration and development. Through sustained competitiveness and financially viable farms, it is expected that the socio-economic well-being of banana-dependent areas will improve, reducing poverty by 5%.