Low - Cost organic certification under PGS
The Participatory Guarantee Scheme is recognized & promoted as the alternative method of organic farm certification by both, the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations & International Federation of Organic Farming Movements (IFOAM). PGS is known for its fairly recent adoption & recognition all over the world. It is in active use in Brazil, USA & New Zealand. It is supported by the Government of Indian through the National Centre of Organic Farming or NCOF. The recognized farms are permitted to use the PGS organic label & logo for their produce.
The PGS Organic India Council has approved the implementation of the PGS scheme through OFAI, MOFF, Timbaktu collective, DDS, IIRD & Keystone Foundation from April 2007.
Under the PGS, organic farmers region control over the certification process & are able to produce a far more credible & effective system of quality assurance compared to 3rd party certification systems several of which are known to be cursory, superficial, incompetent & at times corrupt.
The PGS has several important advantages over 3rd party system which is why organic farmers have taken to it enthusiastically wherever it has been introduced.
1. The procedures are simple. The documents are basic. All the documents are in the language of the farmers concerned.
2. Where farm inspectors are not literate, PGS offers the option of conducting the inspection on video, with oral recording
of answers, written to CD.
3. The farm visits are conducted by people who have a day – to – day knowledge or acquaintance of the farm since it is within
the village & the farm inspectors reside in the same area.
4. The PGS is ideally suited for small v marginal farmers who are otherwise out of the certification process.
5. Farm certification is back in the hands of the farmers themselves & not in the hands of certifiers (mostly non farmers) based
in cities & who demand huge fees for their services.
6. The PGS is based on personal trust & knowledge. Hence paper work which is required when the certifier does not have
personal knowledge of the farm family or farm is greatly reduced in PGS.
For all theses reasons & more, PGS is the preferred system of organic farm certification emerging out of the experience of the organic farming movement worldwide. PGS is not recognized by IFOAM & FAO. Its recognition by the Indian Government is under process.
With the introduction of PGS, organic farming need not complain any maore that they have difficulties in certification of their farm produce.
Presentation contains PGS implementation methodology in detail :-
• Procedure for certification under PGS
• Responsibility of individual farm family
• Responsibilities of the local group
• Responsibilities of the Regional council (OFAI NSC)
• PGS India Council
• Farmers’ pledge
• Basic organic standards
• Functions of the local group
• Functioning of the local group
• Peer appraisal report
• Local; group records
• PGS groups formed in India.