Kathmandu, A three-day SAARC Regional Consultation Meeting on Development of Country Specific Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) Standards and Harmonization of SAARC GAP for Vegetables and Fruits was concluded on April 10, 2018. The meeting has been jointly organized by SAARC Agriculture Centre (SAC), Dhaka, Bangladesh, Ministry of Agriculture, Land Management and Cooperatives (MoALMC), Government of Nepal, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Quality Council of India and Centre for Environmental and Agricultural Policy Research, Extension and Development (CEAPRED) in Hotel Park Village, Kathmandu. Government officials from seven SAARC countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka had participated in the program. The program is inaugurated in the chairmanship of Dr. S M Bokhtiar, Director of SAC and in the presence of Dr. Dilli Ram Sharma Director General of Department of Agriculture (DoA), Nepal as the Chief Guest. The Closing session was chaired by Dr. B.N. Mahato, Executive Director of Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC) and the chair of the Chief Guest was taken by Dr. YubakDhoj GC, Secretary of the MoALMC.
The concept of SAARC GAP (Good Agriculture Practice) has been introduced by FAO in 2014 which also launched a technical cooperation project (TCP) in Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Bangladesh said by Mr. Arun GC, Local Coordinator of the program and Agriculture Extension Officer of the Ministry of Agriculture, Land Management and Cooperatives. He also explained that during this TCP, each country has customized SAARC GAP according to their need. Now, the attempt is made to harmonize the country GAP including Nepal GAP in SAARC GAP. The meeting has recommended SAC to take lead regarding harmonization of the SAARC GAP. Dr. Pradyumna Raj Pandey, the coordinator of the program and SPS of the SAC, said that this is the first step toward harmonization. He stressed that rigorous and continuous consultation is needed to harmonize the Country GAPs.
Scheme Owner for Nepal GAP is the Ministry and the Certifying Body is Department of Food Technology and Quality Control. However, Nepal GAP Implementation Directive, drafted in 2016 has not yet finalized.