The inaugural Certification of Agricultural Produce (CAP) Train – The – Trainer Programme organized by RADA in collaboration with the Bureau of Standards (a two day workshop) commenced on Thursday January 9, 2014, at The Twickenham Park Farmers’ Training Centre, St. Catherine involving over forty (40) participants with keen knowledge in agriculture from organizations to include RADA, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Plant Quarantine Division, Scientific Research Council among others.
The basic objectives of the training are as follows:
- Provide the participants (trainers) with a comprehensive background of the CAP Programme , the established criteria and benefits of certification under the Programme
- Encourage the trainers to introduce the CAP Programme to farmers for their participation and enrolment.
- Equip the trainers with the knowledge to play an integral role in the evaluation process for accrediting farmers in the CAP Programme
The National Programme for the Certification of Agricultural Produce, a standardization programme initiated between the Bureau of Standards (BSJ) and the Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS)
commenced in April 2004 and essentially provides a standardized means of ensuring that agricultural produce has a recognized quality and is safe for distribution and use.
The aim of the Programme therefore is to (step 1) educate farmers on agricultural best practices, the importance of documentation at all stages of production to include, site selection, land preparation, minimizing the pesticide residue in agricultural produce harvesting and post harvesting measures, among many others. (Step 2) Encourage farmers to put this knowledge to practice and (Step 3) locally certify farmers as a means of authenticating quality agricultural production.
Farmers who are successful under the CAP Programme will receive a Licence or Certificate valid for two years and the use of the CAP mark for business promotions. This mark will be used as a symbol to the public that the particular farmer has implemented good agricultural practices, is cognizant of the environmental issues surrounding agriculture and have received the adequate training to enhance the productivity and quality of the agricultural produce to satisfy the needs of the consumer.
By extension, the benefits to be gained from farmers’ participation in the Programme include increased operational efficiency, easier access to both local and foreign markets, and heightened consumer confidence among others.
The other parties that have been actively participating in this Programme since its’ inception are the Ministry of Agriculture, Scientific Research Council, National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) and the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) and Caribbean Agricultural Research Development Institute (CARDI) Rural Agricultural Development Authority, the Scientific Research Council, Agro – Grace, Rural Physical Planning, and Pesticide Control Authority.