Food safety is a major concern for fruits and vegetables in Southeast Asia. In Thailand for example, exports were frequently challenged with a stringent food safety regulation and quality requirements from foreign markets. Moreover, post-harvest losses due to improper handling and microbial contamination also constrained fresh agricultural produce. In response to these concerns, Thailand has developed the National Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) program with emphasis on food safety. Farmers who completed the requirements of the national GAP will be certified by the National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standards of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives.
Fresh and dried chili is one of the most important commodities in Thailand mainly because it is widely consumed in the region and is also exported in other countries. In addition, the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods gave emphasis on chili due to its mycotoxin levels and the likely application of the code of practice for the prevention and reduction of mycotoxin contamination in spices. Therefore, GAP on fresh chili and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) on dried chili have been well studied in preparation for an upcoming international regulation and for possible replication of best practices in other chili producing countries in Southeast Asia (SEA).
The same rationale applies for the conduct of the study entitled “Post Harvest System Improvement-Best Practices in Fresh and Dried Chili in Southeast Asia: Quality and Safety Aspect” which officially started in July 2015 and will be implemented until February 2016. The project is spearheaded by Kasetsart University (KU) in collaboration with the members of the Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (University Consortium), specifically University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB).
- Develop a GAP system for fresh chili and a GMP system for dried chili, both aiming for high value domestic and export markets of each country in SEA by choosing chili producer countries such as Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia; and
- Develop a value chain management in postharvest systems by choosing fresh and dried chili logistics in Thailand to be as a model system for SEA.
Conduct initial assessment of post-harvest and value chains of fresh and dried chili in Thailand, Philippines, and Indonesia.
The approaches to be used are the following:
- Conduct a desk study on fresh and dried chili information, including the trade patterns in each country.
- Interviews and a site visit to access current situation and to develop linkages between key value chain groups and best practices such as GAP or GMP; focusing on the producer, retailer, exporter, and key importers in the region (e.g., Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong) of fresh and dried chili, as well as their packaging and processing facilities.
To date, the project team has drafted the guidelines for the conduct of the interview on the GAP and GMP practices.
- Conduct a workshop in collaboration with project partners to share best practices (i.e., GAP or GMP). Thailand’s model of value chain in terms of food safety and quality of fresh and dried chili will be presented.
- A compilation of best practices on GAP for fresh chili and GMP for dried chili.
- A model for value chain management for fresh and dried chili.