How it started
As part of a multidisciplinary effort of different departments in FAO and in collaboration with the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers Associations (IUF) (www.iuf.org), the SARD Initiative in Kenya and Uganda is undertaking activities to address the linkages between SARD and Good Agricultural Practice (GAP), with specific focus on investigating the linkages between codes and standards for food safety and quality and improved conditions of employment and other social standards. Other essential components are the identification of SARD good practices for better health & safety (conditions of employment and sustainable natural resources management) that are consistent with GAP principles, and assessment of the impact of implementation of GAP for SARD and health & safety of workers and farm labourers. This work will be initially undertaken in the horticulture and livestock food chains.
Issues in SARD, Integrated Natural Resource Governance and Management and GAP
The SARD Initiative recognizes that:
In the context of the FAO project “Capacity Building and Awareness-raising on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to Contribute to Food Safety and Quality and Integrated Natural Resources Management in Kenya and Uganda”, an exploratory mission undertaken in July in Kenya and Uganda to define the status of GAP implementation in the countries, and its use to improve food quality and safety at national level.
Stakeholders in Kenya and Uganda seem to have approached the implementation of commercial standards and of international food safety and quality standards including Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards (SPS) and EU Maximum Residue Levels (MRL) for horticultural exports in a combined strategy. Invariably the same institutions or task forces seem to address issues of export standards, whether public or private. It should be noted that Kenya and Uganda are at very different stages of implementing GAP, partly because of the level of development of the horticultural export sector in the respective countries. The mission noted that the concerned government services in both countries call for a desirable strengthening of national capacities.
At sub-regional level, an East Africa Task Force that attempts to harmonize standards of the traded commodities was also set up. However, implementation and adherence to the standards is low, except for the formal regional trans-boundary trade. It is the mission’s conclusion that there are also no substantive incentives for producers/traders to observe the regulations and create awareness through consumer education.
On the horizon
Publication of a study on the impact of adoption of GAP and other standards on farm labour’s health and safety in the horticulture and livestock food chains, and identification of relevant SARD good practices and capacity building activities at community and policy making levels which could promote the adoption of GAP, specifically by small farmers.
Useful links on GAP on workers’ health and safety