PGS are quality assurance initiatives that are locally relevant, emphasize the participation of stakeholders, including producers and consumers and operate
outside the frame of third party certification. PGS is a process where by people in similar situations(in this case small holder producers) in some way assess
the production practices of their peers. This process can be formal or informal.
PGS-India Guiding Principles
In tune with the international trends and IFOAM’s PGS Guidelines, PGS India system is also based on participatory approach, a share dvision, transparency, trust,
Horizontality and networking. In addition, it gives PGS movement a National recognition and institutional structure without affecting the spirit of PGS.
Participation is an essential and dynamic part of PGS. Key stake holders (producers, consumers, retailers and traders and others such as NGOs) are engaged in
the initial design, and then in the operation of the PGS. In the operation of a PGS, stake holders (including producers) are involved in decision making and
take essential decisions about the operation of the PGS itself. In addition, the producers are engaged in a structured ongoing learning process, which helps
them to improve what they do.
Institution Structure of PGS-India Programme (Fig.)
Scopes of PGS-INDIA organic certification system
To ensure entry of individual farm/ Group/ large area producers and PGS-India certified organic farm produce into organized processing and retail sales, PGS-India
provides a system of continued verification of organic integrity forfarms, on-farm and off-farm processing and handling and online marketing and traceability
system. There are three types of module developed at present as given below:
1. Crop Production Module
2. Processing and Handling Module
3. Live Stock Module and others
Crop Production module
The complete certification operation under PGS-INDIA web portal has been made functional at present under crop production modules and there are three categories
for which certificates will be issued by RC and the details as follows:
- Large Area Certification (LAC)
India had been traditionally organic and many areas continue to remain organic. Due to complexities in documentation, physical verification and other
requirements for standards compliance such areas could not be considered organic in spite of the fact that they are traditionally organic. PGS-India
provides an opportunity to mainstream these areas to organic under the overall guiding principles of PGS-India with following additional features:
- Only large contiguous are as complying to PGS-India standards for several years are considered.
- Local/ State administration assures that there is effective ban on usage of synthetic inputs and GMOs and no permissions have been granted forsale/ supply of prohibited substances.
- Such areas are geographically isolated from conventional area and are separated by hills, non-agricultural land, sea, rivers, forests or any other effective barrier.
- Adoption of PGS-India organic farming policy and practices by all the farmers in the region and its corroboration by village councils or Gram Panchayats.
- Individual certification
- Who can register for Individual certification?
At the beginning where farmer is interested to undertake organic farming in a place in which other farmers are not ready to join group or no local groups nearby
villages present or isolated farmer away from other farmers, in that case, any individual farmer have a scope to register under Individual certification system.
- What is condition for Individual registered farmer?
Farmer should make all out efforts to create groups and become part of PGS-India groups as and when possible with in two years. Failure which results him mandatory
to join with other already existed PGS local groups nearest to him or his area/ Village.
- Local Group certification
A Local/farmer Group formation is done comprising of minimum of 5 Members and maximum is any number as per group choice. People in similar situations
(farmers) located in the same village or close by villages or adjacent land holding who can interact regularly with each other are facilitated to form
a local group. Participation of women farmers shall be ensured and also ensured that at least a few (25%) members are well versed with the PGS/NPOP
Standards or have undergone training on PGS guarantee Certification by RCOFS / NCOF / RC or part of the core team of other functional PGS group. It is
compulsory that each farmer signed the PGS pledge and LG made agreement with RC on stamp paper. No restriction on the size of holding, one single member
should not exceed 50% of the total land under the group. Parallel production and part conversion is not allowed, Entire farm with livestock should bring
under organic management within 24 months, otherwise shall continue to remain under conversion.
Steps involved in PGS-INDIA Organic certification
- Formation of local group (LG): A farmer group will be formed with Minimum 5 members and there is no maximum number limit. But an ideal group may be consisting of 20-25 farmer members which support for easy operation, understanding and effective in functioning.
- Selection of Group leader /Lead Resource Person: One well educated farmer among the members of group will be selected upon all consent of members of whole group itself. The group leader should be keep rotating as and when required in Local Groups, and maintain harmony and promote growth of leadership.
- Documents collection: Documents in a prescribed format (as per PGS Guidelines) are required to be collected for registration and approval from regional council. The documents collection is one-time exercise for life time certification process/ registration process. All the documents collected will be uploaded in PGS web portal online and RC will approve online and activate thereby each local groups get Unique ID
- Selection of Regional Council: The RC authorized by NEC-PGS India with whom local groups are interested / familiar / near to them can be chosen by the choice of farmers itself. Submit all the relevance document and get registered and activated by RC. Prior to registration, local groups must interact with RC and undergo proper training to understand PGS system and its operational requirements. LG can shift to an any RC at any time during certification process. Only if the RC is found non-functional or not performing their duties as per PGS guideline, and not guiding LGs for certification process and delaying issue of certificates. LG has to intimate to RC with reason for not continuing to with them before joining with other RC.
- Registration with Regional Council: Each Individual farmers has to submit prescribed registration formats namely Application Form, Organic Pledge, Farm History Sheet, Identity proof, Identity card, Bank A/C details (Only if required) and land records/ details (Pani/ Patta/ Naksha/ GPS). Group leader on behalf of group members has to submit prescribed formats namely application Form, Agreement copy, Terms of Reference for Operation, Endorsement (LG/ RC/ State can endorse) of group to RC.
- Endorsement: The authenticity of farmers belongs to village and their active engagement in agriculture activities will be endorsed by other Local Groups already registered under PGS/ Regional Council / State Government officers. Under any government scheme if farmers registered/ covered will be endorsed by State/ District nodal officer.
- Training: Its responsibility of each farmer registered under Local group have to compulsorily under go training to understand organic farming package and practices adopted in organic farming and PGS-India certification procedures, standards and documentation. Farmers should undergo training time to time organized by Regional Council/ Service provider/ State Government or other institute. Each local group should make sure atleast 50% of its farmer members attend training/ demonstrations programmes without fail. Atleast two such programs are to be compulsorily attended by each member of groups in a year
- Meeting: Each group should organize time to time meetings and maintain attendance register. Participation of members in these meetings is amandatory activity and is an indication of dedication of the member to the cause of group’s guarantee scheme. There should be at least 2-4 times a year(2 for perennial crop group and 4 times a year for annual crop group) compulsory meetings at key times of the year depending on the season, the crops, etc. One/ two meeting to decide for peer appraisal planning and one/ two for certification decision making. Every member needs to attend at least 50% of the meetings conducted in a year and sign in attendance register.
- Peer inspection and decision submission : Each and every season after 15 days of sowing crop and one month before harvest of crop a peer inspection of each individual farmer in a group has to be completed by each group/ Individual/ LAC as per parameters set in PGS Standards. To perform peer inspection. A peer inspection team among the members of group will be constituted. It should have at least minimum 3 peer appraisers or more members, at least one member in the appraisal team must be literate and well versed in filling the appraisal forms. The peer inspection team formulated among the members of group will perform evaluation of organic farming practices adopted by farmers based on ten-point standards of each farmer as given below.
The peer appraisal team submit their decision to Local group leader which will be discussed in meeting with all LG members. Acompliance and noncompliance of farmers will be prepared and final decision will be submitted to RC for issue of certificate. Noncompliance or sanctions on the farmers who violated rules/ standards will be decided by farmers itself as per PGS guidelines. Standard peer appraisal points on which certification will be decided areas follows.
- Habitat management
- Integration of Live stock
- Soil and water conservation
- Contamination control*
- Seed and planting material*
- Pest management*
- Cleaning of equipment's/ tools*
- Storage and transport