Agriculture is expected to assure especially food security in a range of settings, now and in the future, and is increasingly called upon to reduce negative ecosystem impacts while producing environmental, social and economic benefits. Many factors, including technology, social and economic developments, associated government policies and programs affect attainment of agriculture development goals. These factors are conditioned by globalization, which is progressively changing how and where food and farm products are produced, processed and traded (compare EC, 2003c).
Consumer concern is growing in all parts of the world over sustainability, public health implications and safety of agricultural practices and products. Processors and retailers are matching anticipated market demands with the available supply of products. Farmers, as producers of agricultural products, are provoked to get the capacity to make new farming and technology choices to increase productivity and conserve resources while meeting demands for a safe and healthy diet in response to new regulations and standards, changing global consumption patterns, improved market access and potential value-added opportunities (FAO, 2004). Farmers also are called upon to provide environmental services. Finally, governments provide the enabling policy and the regulatory framework particularly concerning product safety, agricultural production and trade, while seeking to meet product security and sustainability objectives.
All these stakeholders are connected by the Supply Chain. The raw material produced by the farmer is transported step by step from one stakeholder to the other, in case of food along the chain from “farm to fork”. Together with the product information about that product is transferred: the resulting chain is called Information Supply Chain. The Information Supply Chain helps achieving business objectives by elucidating critical business processes (Marinos, 2005). It is the medium to establish transparency and to create trustfulness on guarantees. The basis for correct information is the data reliability of the informant often furthered by independent certifications of quality control. Supply chain together with the information supply chain is called Product Chain.
The agricultural production practice realized on a farm, whether performed as GAP or BAP, with or without written Code of Practice, is the basis for the quality of the whole subsequent product chain. Developments of GAPs via BAPs, therefore, should be oriented in the aims of Agenda 21, i.e. in the continual enhancement of sustainability of product chains.