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Documenting Good Agricultural Practices – Experiences; Referrals

Solution Exchange for the Food and Nutrition Security Community

Query Update
From G. Nirmala, Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), Hyderabad

Good Agriculture Practice (GAP) is intend to bring in “environmental, economic and social sustainability” and result in “safe and quality food and non-food agricultural products”, seems to be challenging task in the present scenario in India unless we understand the practices the farmers are comfortable to adopt. With diverse ethno-cultural practices, ever-increasing demand for food, remarkable poverty amongst the smallholder farmers, and ever-decreasing manual labour for agriculture, there is need to review the global principles of GAP in Indian context. The responses to the query highlighted on the traditional practices that are collection of principles resulting in safe and healthy food while taking into account economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Examples of GAP Practices that have ensured Food Safety Measures and Localization in Small Farms EEE
· Development Research Communication and Services Centre have developed number of natural resource management models for integrated and diversified farming. This is based on the principle that waste from one operation or subsystem can be used as input for other subsystems/enterprises can reduce the risks as well as costs of production; improve soil fertility, provide balance nutrition and ensure enhanced holistic yields as well as income.
· In Andhra Pradesh, Non Pesticidal Management (NPM) proved effective as an ‘ecological approach to pest management using knowledge and skill based practices to prevent insects from reaching damaging stages.
· In Assam, goat dung is sprayed on vegetable field helps in providing good nutrition to soil and prevents crops from pests.
· The practice to keep dairy cattle on raised floor bamboo houses about 5-6 feet above ground helps keeping animal healthy
· Raised bamboo floor that keeps broiler chicken clean, and less incidence of diseases and flies and droppings channelized to vegetable farm.
· Rural Resource and Training Centre (RRTC), Meghalaya has PBC pipes fitted on every house in such a manner that it collects rain water and leads to an underground reservoir used for various purposes. Dairy farm-Gobar gas plant-vermicompost unit where dung produced is channelized to a pit of Gobar gas system almost automatically. Slurry produced is then conveyed to the shed of vermicompost almost automatically. Thus, waste of one unit become input for other unit and they save labour and energy in this manner.
· Apatani fish rich culture in Arunachal Pradesh is an integrated livestock cum fish farming in Assam

GAP in reducing Environmental Costs and improving Yield Parameters EEEEE
A progressive farmers Traditional Knowledge notes sowing activity needs to be done only on ‘No Moon’ day and this would not only give good crop but there will not be any pests; Sub Soil increases the yield by 50% and also the Nutrient Value of the Produce; Seed Spacing reduces the Seed/Acre to 40% without affecting the yield.

Economic Benefits of NPM
Ecological Benefits of NPM
· Lower cost of production & substantial statewide savings
· Yield maintained or increased
· Higher household income
· Lower Debt
· Higher cropping intensity
· Lower risk perception and higher investment in agriculture
· Business innovation and new livelihood opportunities
· Better soil health, water conservation
· Conservation of agro-biodiversity
· Fewer pesticide related health problems
· Smaller carbon footprint as a result of reduced use and production of inorganic fertilisers

References of Organizations involved in Implementation of GAPEEE
Bureau of Indian Standards as well as Quality Council of India have systematically developed GAP documents for Indian Conditions
· JAIN GAP Standard: Jain Irrigation Systems Limited has evolved an adaptation of GAP standard for application to their contract farming operations. http://www.globalgap.org/cms/upload/Resources/Presentations/London/101008_Roberts_Brad_JAINGAP_GLOBALGAP_Summit_London.pdf) (Size:589 KB)
· GAP for Medicinal Plants: National Medicinal Plants Board in collaboration with WHO produced a compendium of medicinal plants GAP. (http://whoindia.org/LinkFiles/Traditional_Medicine_GAP_book.pdf) (Size: 2.12 MB)
· Traditional Agricultural Practices Compilation by SARRA – compiles the ecologically sound cultivation practices for major crops http://www.angoc.org/portal/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/06/traditional-practices-in-agriculture/Traditional-Practices-in-Agriculture-FULL.pdf
· Water Management: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) produced a compilation of good agriculture water management practices http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd13/documents/bground_3.pdf
· Post Harvest Technologies: Post Harvest Foundation based in the USA produced a good assessment of post harvest technology practices adopted by farmers in the SSA and in India. (http://www.postharvest.org/Slide_Deck_WFLO_APTProject2010.pdf) (Size: 2.8 MB)
· Sustainable Agri Practices has two compendiums of successful practices and approaches with interesting cases from India. (http://www.sustainet.org/en/information-office.htm; http://www.sustainet.org/download/sustainet_publication_india_part1.pdf) (Size: 1.19 MB)
· ICT Applications in capturing GAP: Farmers produced interesting GAP content based on the experiences of various agriculture development CBO/NGOs. (http://www.farmerp.com/it-in-agri.html)
· Good agriculture and collection practices of medicinal plants http://coin.fao.org/cms/world/india/en/Publications/NMTPF.html

Contributions received with thanks from
Suman KA, Change Planet Partners Climate Innovation Foundation, Hyderabad; Shambhu Ghatak, Inclusive Media for Change, New Delhi; K V Peter, World Noni Research Foundations, Chennai; DSK Rao, Gyantech Information Systems (P)Limited, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh; Ramesh V Bhat, Department of Food and Drug, Ministry of Health, Lao PDR; Anshuman Das, Development Research Communication & Services Centre, Kolkata; Pathak RK, Manas Rural Development Institute, Thane, Maharashtra; Raj Ganguly, Independent Consultant, New Delhi; GV Ramanjaneyulu, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh; Pitam Chandra, Indian Council for Agricultural Research, New Delhi; Monjul Islam, FARMER (Fellowship for Agri-Resource Management and Entrepreneurship Research), Guwahati, Assam

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