Good Agricultural Practices (GAP’s);
The quality and safety of horticultural produce, workers safety and environmental sustainability are of major concern in both the local and export market.
The players in the industry must implement local and international standards, regulations and codes of practice which ensure food safety, environmental sustainability and social accountability which are the cornerstone of the GAP’s. All fresh produce dealers including growers, local buyers, exporters, agents and other players in the product value chain must adhere to principles of Good agricultural practices (GAPs).
The GAP’s include;
· Keeping up-to date farm production records in order to maintain consumer confidence in food quality and safety.
· Applying proper protection strategies in order to reduce the use of chemicals.
· Observe the required standards during pesticide application to protect the health and safety of the workers.
· Crop rotation program must be implemented for short and medium term crops.
· Observe the required standards during transportation, storage and disposal of pesticides in order to minimize detrimental impact on the environment while conserving nature and wildlife.
· Observe hygiene requirements during harvesting and post-harvest handling of produce.
· Adhere to regulations of wages and requirements of the Employment Act.
· Adhere to environmental protection regulations.
· Traceability – capacity to identify a products’ origin ie where it was produced, record keeping for all production procedures.
· Maximum Residue Levels (MRL’s) – they are maximum residue levels of pesticides likely to be left on food after treatment with a pesticide
· In addition to GAP’s, there are codes of practice and standards which include HCD code of conduct, Kenya standards code of practice for the horticultural industry by Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), and Kenya GAP. Other international regulations and private standards include Global GAP and British Retail Consortium (BRC). Certification of the standards in Kenya is facilitated by institutions like Africert, Bureau Veritas and SGS amongst others.