Hwang-Jaw Lee, PhD
Board Director, Taiwan Flowers Development Association
In order to assist farmers to produce vegetables and fruits which are safe for consumption and easy to identify, the Agriculture and Food Agency (AFA) has been working on consumers’ awareness of the “Good Agricultural Practices” (GAPs) labeling system since 1993, also known as “Gi-Am-Pu吉園圃 (means beautiful farm in local dialect)”.
To be eligible to label products as GAPs, farmers need to join the production and marketing groups (PMG), and follow the GAPs operation guidance promulgated by AFA. The requirements include providing a complete log of farming chemicals used during production, meeting the standards of chemical residue as well as passing the review by the official GAPs inspecting team, a team that was formed by AFA, Taiwan Agricultural Chemicals and Toxic Substances Research Institute (TACTRI), regional agricultural research and extension stations and local governments.
Each producer who passed the inspection, a contract will be provided by AFA with the authorization of labeling the agri-products with GAPs. A unique nine-digit ID number below the GAPs logo will be assigned to each GAPs producer. The first two digits represent the origin of product, followed by a single-digit category code and another six-digit code for control and management. This nine-digit ID provides the traceability to the producer level. With which, consumers can access the GAP official Website http://agrapp.coa.gov.tw/GAP/JSP/index_1.jsp for the producer’s information. The GAPs logo is being recognized as an honor among farmers; products that attain GAPs labels are considered to be safe and with premium quality.
AFA has continued to promote consumers’ awareness of GAPs label, as well as to improve quality control, inspection, and personnel training. The trading prices of GAPs products are on average about 20% higher than that of non-GAPs. In addition, special GAPs produce displays have been set up in most of supermarket chains to make these products easily available to consumers.
Establishing and promoting of the GAPs labeling systems not only provide agri-producers an opportunity to differentiate their products, but also offer a variety of safe and healthy agri-products to the end consumers. AFA will continue implementing the system to keep its credibility and superiority in the market and encouraging GAPs farmers to advance on certifications of the Agro-products Traceability and the Organic Farming Labeling System.
(Data source: Council of Agriculture)
Date submitted: November 27, 2013
Reviewed, edited and uploaded: November 27, 2013