The essential environmental and operational conditions required to produce safe, healthy crops are known as Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs). GAPs are intended to provide rational direction in implementing optimal management practices that will help limit the risk of microbiological contamination of crops. Worker hygiene and health, manure use and water quality throughout the production and harvesting process are examples of GAPs. Therefore, farmers should use Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in crop production to provide consumers with high-quality, safe products while also protecting the environment.
Even though most farmers never want to follow GAPs. It is still a critical factor in matters of production and sustainability. The GAP standards include every aspect of farming, from selecting the best plot for your farming operation to assessing water quality and choosing the best irrigation system, farm design, farm maintenance, worker education, health and safety. By following GAPs, farmers and their families will acquire nutritious, high-quality food, allowing them to produce value-added components for their products and boost market access. Consumers will also consume safer and high quality food that is produced sustainably. GAPs also create a good environment which in return benefits the entire population.
However, several drawbacks come with the implementation of GAPs. Farmers must adapt to changing environmental conditions and the demands of food consumers and retailers. Climate change, soil erosion and drastic weather patterns are rising challenges. And the natural environment with which farming interacts with plants, pests, and illnesses continues to present its own set of problems.
In Nakuru, a farmer is at the forefront of ensuring GAPs are followed and maintained by all farmers for a sustainable future. Ngatho Samuel, founder of Aqua Africa has devoted the best part of his career to ensuring that he uses sustainable ways of farming. Ngatho does organic farming while using a small area for farming fish and vegetables. While observing GAPs, Ngatho says he prefers his farm to be bio-balanced and never allows anything to go to waste. “I came up with a very integrated system of farming which captures vegetable and fish farming. Using a raised bed, I can use a small piece of land while observing GAPs,” said Ngatho. Aqua Africa is a beneficiary of Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) Agribiz programme. From the small piece of land, Ngatho can sell his farm produce, make a profit and have enough to use for his domestic needs.
Climate change impacts farmers’ ability to produce the food we all need. Increased weather volatility and more extreme events, such as floods and droughts, alter growing seasons, limit water availability, promote the growth of weeds, pests, and fungi, and diminish crop output. Farmers must adapt to these changes while simultaneously mitigating agriculture’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions by adopting climate-smart methods.