Recent advances in communications and transportation have transformed many farmers into global businesses. One can find fresh salmon from Norway in markets the world over, alongside pineapples from the Ivory Coast and Shitaki from Japan.

All this has posed many challenges to agriculture and to the fresh food industry, the main one being food safety and environmental concerns in general, and concerns about natural habitats, specifically. To address these concerns, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization set about implementing Global Good Agricultural Practices, or GLOBALG.A.P. for short.

GlobalGAP is a requirements specification originally formulated by European supermarket chains to ensure suitable agricultural production conditions. The specification was subsequently extended to producers and suppliers around the world who went on to influence the scope of the requirements in the standard, right up to the present version. The requirements specification addresses production, packaging and marketing, and is the most widely used standard among Israeli farmers exporting their products abroad.

The aim of the specification is to set a standard for rules pertaining to the growing of agricultural produce in order to ensure that products are safe for the consumer, and are grown under conditions that do not harm workers or the environment.

The standard contains specific requirements from farmers classified according to three levels of severity: primary, secondary and recommendation. The standard deals with a whole variety of issues, from how to maintain the consistency of produce quality, to selecting species, propagation materials, documenting plots, soil management, use of fertilizers and plant nutrients, to packaging and transportation of agricultural produce.

In order to comply with GLOBALG.A.P's stringent requirements, an "ID card" of sorts must be constructed for each crop, that includes its entire history to date. The best way to achieve this is to use computerized information systems that enable not only control of all the processes, but also enable full and accurate documentation of all the growing, packaging and delivery stages.

Customers who use AKOL systems benefit from the generation of reports that enable them to meet GLOBALG.A.P. standards.

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