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Reflections on the growing influence of good agricultural practices in the Global South

By Y. Amekawa

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Abstract

EurepGAP is a pioneering field level food safety protocol called 'good agricultural practices' currently exercising influence over the global food quality assurance system. Developed by a consortium of major European retailers, this private standard enforces codes of conduct that address issues of health and safety for producers and consumers, as well as working conditions and environmental management on the farmland. Despite various merits and benefits that the standard is premised to offer, the institutional design gives a financial edge to powerful large farms and exporters while diminishing opportunities for smaller growers and exporters to remain in the profitable agricultural export sector of the Global South. This paper explores the institutional origin and evolution of EurepGAP, discusses entry barriers and risks that EurepGAP imposes on the global value chain stakeholders, as well as the ethical implications from broader theoretical perspectives. Subsequently, it examines the evolving nature of a new trend in the fresh fruit and vegetable sector, i.e., the rise of public GAP standards. Promoted by some governments in the Global South, these GAP standards emphasize support for horizontal partnerships among value chain stakeholders, farmer participation, and less capital-intensive agricultural innovations. The paper argues that, within certain limitations, these GAP standards have the potential to be the major alternative GAP approach by encouraging a much broader inclusion of small-scale producers towards the attainment of various social, economic, and environmental benefits.

Date 2009
Publication Title Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics
Volume 22
Issue 6
Pages 531-557
ISBN/ISSN 1187-7863
DOI 10.1007/s10806-009-9171-8
Language English
Author Address Department of Sociology, Graduate Program, Iowa State University, 103 East Hall, Ames, IA 50011, USA. sociology@iastate.edu amekawa@yahoo.com
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Tags
  1. Agriculture
  2. Code of practice
  3. Consumers
  4. Contamination
  5. Crops
  6. Employees
  7. Environment
  8. Food quality
  9. Food safety
  10. Fresh products
  11. Fruits
  12. Health Promotion
  13. History
  14. Horticultural activities
  15. natural resources
  16. peer-reviewed
  17. Plants
  18. quality
  19. quality controls
  20. Risk Assessment
  21. Social psychology and social anthropology
  22. trends
  23. vegetables
  24. work
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  1. peer-reviewed