How to Assure That Farmers Apply New Technology According to Good Agricultural Practice: Lessons From Dutch Initiatives

Lotz, L.A.P.; Wiel, C.C.M. van de; Smulders, M.J.M.


The application of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) contributes to many aspects of sustainable farming, including integrated control of weeds, diseases, and pests, and optimization of fertilization and irrigation. It is a relatively neglected issue in debates regarding the application of new technology, such as genetic modification (GM), which often revolve around the intrinsic properties of a GM crop allegedly leading to unsatisfactory performance. However, the performance largely depends on the agronomic and institutional embedding of applying new technology, which generally applies to all crops, whether conventional or GM. We describe and discuss four cases in which the government or private partners in the production chain regulate this, using legalmeasures, incentives, ormutual agreements, or a combination thereof. These cases serve as a starting point for a discussion on how GAP can be stimulated, organized, and guaranteed. We argue that next to the government, also seed suppliers, NGOs, and buyers, as well as farmers can be drivers for the application of GAP when tools are available that enable farmers to make optimal farming choices.