GLOBALG.A.P. is pleased to announce the publication of the National Interpretation Guideline India, which is available for download here on the GLOBALG.A.P. website. It is valid from 10 July 2013 and obligatory from 10 October 2013.

The National Interpretation Guideline (NIG) is a document that provides guidance on how to implement GLOBALG.A.P. Control Points and Compliance Criteria at a national level. National Interpretation Guidelines for the implementation of Good Agricultural Practice at farmer level are very important, particularly for developing countries such as India in view of the sizeable number of smallholders (85% of the farmer population).

The formation of the NTWG India and the subsequent development of the NIG India came as response to the several issues involved in the implementation GLOBALG.A.P. Certification in India. The large number of farmers and assessment bodies combined with a range of differing guidelines concerning preharvest intervals and the use of plant protection chemicals, sampling procedures for testing and the status of laboratories to be used for testing purpose, and the procurement of propagation material from nurseries posed several challenges. The result: accreditation bodies (ABs), certification bodies (CBs), importers and producers implementing the GLOBALG.A.P. scheme were interpreting the GLOBALG.A.P. Compliance Criteria in different ways.

The situation is further intensified by the existence of several research institutes designated for specific crops, each of which define specific guidelines that as yet could not be approved under GLOBALG.A.P. This has prevented the wider application of GLOBALG.A.P. to other crops, and so currently GLOBALG.A.P. Certification in India is mostly confined to table grapes, mangoes, pomegranates and very few vegetables–a serious problem in view of the fact that India is the second largest producer of fruit and vegetables in the world.

To solve the problem, the Quality Council of India (QCI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GLOBALG.A.P. and set up a National Technical Working Group involving all the stakeholders, which then drafted the interpretation document. The NTWG sent the application for the NIG in March 2012. After internal reviews were completed in October 2012, a peer review was completed in December 2012 and the peer review comments were implemented. NIG India was then sent for approval to the Crops TC, which approved the guideline in April 2013, where after the Indian NTWG only had to adjust the document to the new IFA V4.0-2 Edition.

As of October 2013, all accreditation bodies, certification bodies and producers are required to implement the guidelines specified in the NIG India uniformly across the country.

Due to the adoption of local practices and the clarification of important control points in the newly published interpretation guideline, GLOBALG.A.P. implementation is expected to grow for other crops. In view of the recent liberalized policy on foreign direct investment for retailers, this growth will have a significant impact on Indian producers, as increased GLOBALG.A.P. Certification will make sourcing for the several multinational retailers expected to enter the Indian market far easier.

Furthermore, the recognition of the National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB) as an accreditation body for the GLOBALG.A.P. scheme will further broaden the reach of GLOBALG.A.P. Certification in the country. This will make certification more affordable with national accreditation paving the way for more Indian CBs achieving accreditation under the GLOBALG.A.P. scheme.

GLOBALG.A.P. would like to thank the NTWG India for their work on this guideline.
For more information on National Interpretation Guidelines, please contact the GLOBALG.A.P. NTWG Secretariat

Download the NIG India here.

Learn more about the GLOBALG.A.P. National Technical Working Groups (NTWG) here.

Learn more about National Interpretation Guidelines (NIG) here.