Voluntary certification schemes as tools to promote rural development in Colombia : a case study of good agricultural practices in plantain produce
Author(s)Téllez Jaramillo, Paula Andrea
good agricultural practices
Earth and Environmental Sciences
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AbstractIn recent years the appearance of private standards and codes of conduct has shaped the functioning of agri-food chains. These private standards, codes of conduct and quality meta- systems are similar concepts that evolved as a response to food scares and the growing expectations of consumers about quality and other attributes. Large retailers and supermarket chains have developed private standards in other to reduce risk when handling products in globalized food chains. Some quality standards beyond of considering farming practices and sanitary aspects of produce, introduce ethical, social and environmental considerations. Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) belong to this kind of protocols that despite of being applied in private standards have extended its usage to public voluntary and compulsory schemes and has been promoted by institutions such as FAO. GAP is a group of practices focused in record keeping and traceability regarded as an instrument to pursue sustainable farming. This study case examines a project for implementation of GAP through the private standard Global-GAP in plantain produce in Colombia. The project objectives were to implement GAP in 70 smallholders’ members of an association and certify 25 in the Global-GAP protocol The aim of the study case was to illustrate the process of implementation of GAP in Colombia as well as explore the capacity of farmers to implement the standard. The case is developed through interviews to different stakeholders performed in 2009 when the project was developed and in 2012 to follow the progress in the project goals. In addition, official documents and reports were consulted to build the case. The results show how farmers were able to implement GAP despite of their difficulties when internalizing record keeping habits. Despite of the positive attitude of farmers and their compliance with the requirements of the protocol, certification was denied because of the poor organizational skills of the association. Lack of cohesion in the association and the poor integration of stakeholders are regarded as the main causes for the non-attainment of goals. At the present most farmers have abandoned the usage of GAP showing the importance of engaging institutional actors and building capacity in the associations in order to perpetuate the knowledge provided by this kind of projects. The results of this study case could contribute with the planning of implementation campaigns in similar contexts, reinforcing institutional intervention and focusing in the proper integration of stakeholders.