A two-day training course titled “Global Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Organic Certification” ended at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi on Friday.
The course, which focused on global GAP rules, farming, crop bases and organic product certification, was organised by the university in collaboration with System Machinery Inspection Services (SMIS)-China Quality Certification, an American International Accreditation Organisation.
Around 25 experienced scholars, professors and engineers participated in the training programme and exchanged their views with delegates from China.
The objective of the course was to complete documentation for a successful implementation of the global GAP and organic framework for fruit and vegetables and to create awareness for better understanding on organic standard requirements to increase exports.
In his address, the university’s vice-chancellor, Dr Rai Niaz Ahmad, highlighted the course’s importance and said not only emphasised international certification requirements but also focused on production-enhancement skills for farmers so they could earn more from their limited resources.
He said by adoption of modern agricultural practices and acquisition of international export certifications, Pakistan has witnessed significant growth in the export of fruits and vegetables. Despite this, the country still shares a negligible percentage of the global merchandise in the fruit and vegetable market, he added.
Ahmad assured participants that the university will provide the best opportunities to upgrade farming methods by implementing Global GAP guidelines to enhance exports.
He also announced that 25 acres will be provided to SMIS for pursuing organic research at the varsity’s research farm and assured full cooperation from the university.
On the occasion, international expert from China, Qu Fengfa, highlighted the requirements of Global GAP and organic standards. He was of the view that awareness of products’ standards and their true implementation will upgrade the produce of farms.
Both organisations also signed a memorandum of understanding to increase awareness about organic certifications which will play a key role in increasing exports of fruit and vegetables. Under the agreement, both organisations will work together for monitoring the management system and training courses regarding Global GAP as well as organic activities.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2014.