Since 2003, the concept of Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) is being implemented in EU policies and legislations following the so called CAP reform (Common Agricultural Practice). Basically, the CAP reform is geared towards the framework of GAP of the FAO. The vision of common agricultural practice policy is starting to being realized by the political instrument of compulsatory cross compliance (Council Regulation No. 1259/1999; Council regulation No 1782/2003 and Commission Regulation EC No 796/2004), directing agricultural practices by financial incentives (EC, 1999a, 1999b).
Character of the common “Good Agricultural Practice” is the increasing regulation of agricultural practices by governmental policies or non-governmental requirements via defined certification processes as instruments on EU/UN level.
Parallel, the term “Best Agricultural Practice” (BAP) arose introduced by a NGO (UNDP, PAN, 2004) but mostly simply used as synonym for non-regulated “Good Agricultural Practices” (Redman, 2003).
Here, we propose an integrative BAP concept in order
• To ease communication between all stakeholders concerned with agricultural practices.
• To review and integrate the most important existing terms concerned with agricultural practices.
• To demonstrate how a GAP/BAP combination could be used as a tool for sustainable rural development.
Existing terms related to agricultural practices and defined here are: Good Agricultural Practice, Best Agricultural Practice, Code of Conduct, information supply chain, product chain quality (formerly called "production quality"; compare Feldmann, 2007), and sustainability of product chains.