TAMAP drives stakeholder forum for good agricultural practices | Sunday Observer

TAMAP drives stakeholder forum for good agricultural practices

28 November, 2021

The inaugural meeting of the GAP Stakeholder Forum was held with the support of the Technical Assistance to the Modernisation of Agriculture Program (TAMAP) at the Department of Agriculture in Peradeniya recently.

Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, Prof. Udith K. Jayasinghe was the chief guest.

The Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) program, introduced by the Department of Agriculture in 2016, was a promising step taken to minimise adverse impacts of agriculture on the ecosystem and human health while meeting steadily rising demand for food. Although the programme had an encouraging start, the overall conversion of farmers to implementing GAP remained low.

Over the past six years, 1,500 farmers registered as GAP producers out of the 1.8 million farmers in Sri Lanka. To align with the current policy of the Sri Lankan Government to improve ecological friendliness of farming, it is important to transform all production units towards GAP farms.

Studies showed that to achieve this goal, the GAP implementation strategies needed to be updated and infused into mainstream agriculture, facilitating a quick transformation of the current approach towards a macro-level system.

Therefore, the requirement for a rapid strategizing of such an approach followed by periodic review of GAP performance arose. This initiated the need for a stakeholder forum.

Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, Prof. Jayasinghe said, “GAP programme has emerged as a solution to challenges faced by Sri Lankan agriculture today to improve safety of users and ensure good environmental performance.

Over forty participants were present at the forum, representing the various stakeholder groups.

The deliberations during the forum were broken down into five main areas: Technical, financial, institutional, and social problems faced by GAP stakeholders on maintaining production, supply, product quality, and consumer trust.

Gaps in technology transfer and adoption, marketing and quality control measures and means for increased rate of adoption and GAP farm certification; Gaps in GAP process and procedures, user friendliness and applicability; Future technological needs towards increasing production, productivity, product quality and ecosystem sustainability; and Policy needs for increased adoption of GAP to mainstream GAP into national agriculture agenda.

Dr. Nihal Atapattu, stated, “TAMAP, along with the European Union that provided the funding support is very pleased to have assisted to launch several interventions that would promote recognition of GAP as a premier means of strengthening Sri Lankan agriculture in sustainably meet requirements of the domestic and export markets.”