Dragon Fruit Info
GAP certification to enhance the market opportunities on dragon fruit - challenges and strategies - Indian perspective
Industry, Trade, and Market、Others
G. Karunakaran, M. Arivalagan, S. Sriram, S. Rajendiran and S. Ramachandran
India has been bestowed with wide range of climate and physio-geographical conditions and most suitable for growing various kinds of fruit crops. In India, fruit crop sector is perhaps the most profitable venture of all farming activities as it provides ample employment opportunities and scope to raise the income of the farming community. India is one of the centres of origin of many of the fruits, and annually about 100.4 million metric tonnes of fruits produced from 6.11million hectares land which accounts for 10.9% to the total world production (FAO). The major fruits grown in India are mango (35.41% of total area under fruits), citrus (15.60%) and banana (13.45%). Other fruits grown are apple, guava, pomegranate, grapes, jackfruit, pineapple, papaya, sapota, aonla, etc. In global scenario, India stands first in banana production (33.74% in world share), followed by mango (21.39%) and citrus (13.46). Last few decades, extensive use of insecticides/pesticides to control various insect pests led accumulation of them in the edible produce raised the doubts about the safety and quality of the fruit production systems. The presence of infective agents in the fruits also one of the major health concerns. Thereby, a new paradigm shift in agricultural production is ushered in the 21st century, where there is more concern about the quality, health and safety of the fresh produce rather than the quantity produced to satisfy the consumer preference.
Food security, food quality, production efficiency, livelihoods and environmental benefits are the major concerns to the wide range of stakeholders include governments, food processing and retailing industries, farmers and the consumers. The concept of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) has evolved in recent years to address the concern raised by stakeholders to monitor the quality of farm produce from production to consumption. To meet the demand of global requirements, to ensure the quality assurance, safeguard the environment and increase the economy, many countries promoting GAP for fruits and vegetable production. As a whole, horticultural industry in many of the countries begins to move through the next phase of development where focus shifts towards increasing quality and competitiveness in domestic and export markets. Food industry partners will increasingly require a different set of technical solutions to address the various quality issues. To understand the current status of GAP in India including various certification firms, challenges in implementing GAP and strategies to improve the GAP, study was conducted through interviews with certification agencies, producers, exporters and data were collected from secondary sources. The results are highlighted in this abstract.
Though the concept of GAP was begun in 1997 as EUREPGAP, India has started to put GAP into the practice effectively after 2007’s. Due to concerted efforts from Indian Government, local administrators, growers and exporters were encouraged to follow GAP system in the production of fruits and vegetables. Intensive research work for developing POP specific to crops, education and extension activities related to GAP have continued widely in the country. The monitoring and certification of all the elements in the production chain are fulfilled by independent bodies according to the requirement of Indian regulation or import companies/nations. At present, In India there are about 10 agencies involved in monitoring and GAP certification. The agencies are Indocert (Indian Organic Certification Agency), Food Forum India, Ecocert India, Control Union Certifications India – Skal International India, DQS India / BQR Systems India Private Limited, Eurocert India, FoodCert India (P) Ltd, IMO India, SGS India Pvt Ltd, Sai Global Mumbai which is registered under APEDA export agency, India. At present, grapes (188221 MT), banana (101314 MT), mango (49180 MT) are produced as per the GAP guidelines and exported to countries like EU, Netherlands, Bangladesh, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Srilanka and the UK. Other crops which are produced according the GAP guidelines are apple, papaya, sapota, citrus, pineapple, poomgranate and guava.
One of the successful implementation and monitoring of GAP is in grapes production and export. APEDA has developed the “GrapeNet”, web-based software that will help in tracing the export of grapes from India to the European Union. The aim of this initiative was to reduce the rejection of the export due to high pesticide residues. The information about the authorities issuing the certificate, inspection reports, laboratory analysis, certificate of residue analysis and the packing house details are fed in the software. Hence, the GrapeNet tracking system will help to monitor pesticide residue and achieve product standardization, thus boosting grape exports to the European Union. If there are any complaints concerning pesticide residues being present in grapes, one can able to identify the farms from where the grapes originated with the help of software. At present about 40,000 grapes growers across
India using GrapeNet software. Because of higher accountability and transparency of GrapeNet software system, the farmers’ returns have also increased according to APEDA.
Implementation of GAP at grassroots level has lots of limitations. In order to study such limitations, farmers were asked to rank the reasons for non adoption of GAP in fruit crops. The responses were analyzed using Garrett’s ranking technique and the results showed that inadequate knowledge about the GAP was the most important reason for non-adoption (mean score - 82.33). The other reasons ranked by the non adopters were relatively high cost associated with compliance and certification, high production costs and fragmented landholdings. Certification may also require farmers to acquire new skills and competencies, not only to adopt new standards in their production and processing operations, but also to manage and plan their activities as there is no price premium for GAP certified products. These are the major challenges for GAP system to be put into practice more widely. Study also indicated that grapes, banana, apple and pomegranate growers are much awareness about GAP practises and export awareness when compared to other fruit growers.
GAP adoption on Dragon fruit
Presently, dragon fruit imported from Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Sri Lanka etc. As per the available data, about 23,166.4 metric tonnes (MT) of fresh dragon fruits worth of about US ($) 2.99 million (INR 205 million) were imported during 2016 to 2019. Vietnam (99.74%) and Thailand (0.24%) are the major countries exporting dragon fruit into India. Dragon fruit cultivation was introduced in India during the late 90s and still the area under its cultivation is gradually increasing. According to recent estimates, total area under cultivation is about 2850 ha (2020). Expected area expansion is about 10000 ha in the next 3 years. With this projected increase in area under dragon fruit cultivation, apart from domestic demand, India could able to export 30 % of the projected yield (about 137500 tons). Since, dragon fruit is introduced recently, it is essential to develop a location specific production technologies need to be standardized. ICAR-IIHR is building a new set of skills in quality systems management that are highly relevant and very much in demand by industry. Many strategies were found to encourage dragon fruit growers to adopt GAP such as corporate farms are most likely to adopt the GAP to meet the export standards, but the smaller farmers with less land holdings may not able to follow GAP protocol on their own. To address such issues, Government of India promoting farmers produce organisations (FPOs) and farmer’s clusters, which serve as most important market driven approach. Government also promoting one district-one product model, through this model farmer whose farms are adjacent to each other may establish a collective farm and apply for GAP certification as a farmers group. Several entities like an international development agency, exporter/processor, or producer organizations are advised to form a strong linkage with farmers to initiate the GAP certification process.
India aims to achieve the ambitious goal of doubling farm incomes by 2022. The agriculture sector in India is expected to generate higher growth in the next few years due to increased investments in agricultural infrastructure such as irrigation facilities, cold chain and value addition. Exports will be crucial if India is to achieve its targets, which would be possible only by institutionalizing GAP standards and their certification mechanisms. Farmers have to opt for GAP for their produce to have access to new markets and meet safety demands consumers. Further, the farmer would directly benefit from increased farm revenue and sustainability. As the Dragon fruit is introduced recently in India, it is essential to create awareness among the farmers about the economical value of the dragon fruit and export opportunities. It is also essential to augment the information about the quality standard requirements insisted by importing countries, so that the dragon fruit growers will be sensitized about the quality standards.
2021 DFNet Workshop - Global/Local GAP Certification to Enhance Market Opportunities – Challenges and Strategies
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GAP, dragon fruit, India
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