AMBODIA—Mekong Institute (MI) and the Provincial Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (PDAFF), Kandal Province, co-organized the localized training on “Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)” last July 4-5.
Twenty-four vegetable producers and extension workers from Sa-Ang District participated in the training course, which aims to enhance the participants’ knowledge and technical capacity on GAP principles, as well as introduce to them appropriate agrichemical and pest management practices to ensure the quality and safety of their fresh produce. The training was spearheaded by an MI alumnus who attended the Regional Training Program on Assuring Food Safety through Pest and Agrichemical Management last May 2017, together with an expert from the Department of Plant Protection, Sanitary and Phyto sanitary under the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in Cambodia.
Ms. Maria Theresa S. Medialdia, Director of the Agricultural Development and Commercialization Department of MI, welcomed all training participants and provided a brief introduction to the MI Food Safety Project (MI-FSP). After explaining the objectives of the localized training, she emphasized the importance of adopting good agricultural practices as GAP provides good guidance for managing food safety risks during production, harvesting and postharvest handling of fresh produce. She likewise encouraged the participants to apply the knowledge they gained during the two-day program to improve their current practices in vegetable production, storage, and transport.
Meanwhile, Mr. Buntoun Simona, Director of PDAFF, Kandal province, highlighted in his Opening Remarks the significance of adopting GAP in responding to current challenges related to vegetable production, pest and agrichemical management, postharvest handling, and environmental and farmer protection, among others. According to him, GAP can ensure the safety and quality of fresh produce during on-farm and post-production processes, and enhance environmental sustainability for long-term farm productivity.
He added that apart from agricultural productivity, growing safe and quality produce is likewise of major concern nowadays. The adoption of GAP has become more and more important in light of the increasing regional and international trade of food and other agricultural products, as well as the growing consciousness of consumers with regards to the quality and safety of the products they consume. He ended his brief speech by encouraging farmers to work closely together with extension workers in adopting GAP principles and guidelines for their farms.
This activity is part of the action plan developed by Mr. Sim Hourleang under the New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAP)-funded MI-FSP. The project primarily aims to build up the capacity of various stakeholders in CLMV in adopting and promoting better food safety practices along the horticultural value chain within the region.