The family of ASEAN Standards on Agricultural Best Practices, which include Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
for fruits and vegetables, Good Animal Husbandry Practice for Layers and Broilers (GAHP), and Guidelines on Good Aquaculture Practices (GAqP) for food fish have already been developed and adopted by AMSs. Despite their adoption, implementation encountered structural bottlenecks. The low uptake of standards at the farm level had been attributed to the limited awareness among demand side market actors of the ASEAN standards. In addition, ASEAN GAPs are voluntary in nature and to the extent that produce grown under GAP regimes does not attract any price premiums in the market place, there is little or no incentive to conform to them. These indicate the need to find practical ways of implementing the ASEAN standards that will increase confidence and demand from buyers, promote uptake at the farm level, and foster appropriate levels of protection between trading partners.
To address these concerns, the “Study on Mutual Recognition Models for the ASEAN Agricultural Best Practices” recommended the establishment of a Multilateral Arrangement for the Mutual Recognition of Agrifood Standards and Conformity Assessment (MAMRASCA) that would facilitate the establishment an effective mechanism for operationalizing and accepting these standards at both national and regional level. Following the Special SOM-38th AMAF Meeting held on 14-15 August 2017 in Singapore, the ASEAN Agricultural Ministers supported the recommendation of the study, including the formation of a Task Force that will administer the preparation of the MRA.
This project will support the preparation of the MRA to help establish mechanisms to facilitate the acceptance of trading partners’ standards and conformance measures in the production of agri-food. The mechanism will also address the issues identified in the earlier study and direct efforts that will contribute in better utilisation and sustainability of the ASEAN GAPs.