PGS-India (Participatory Guarantee System of India) is a quality assurance initiative that is locally relevant, emphasize the participation of stakeholders, including producers and consumers and operate outside the frame of third party certification.
PGS India system is based on participatory approach, a shared vision, transparency and trust. In addition it gives PGS movement a National recognition and institutional structure.
Participation is an essential and dynamic part of PGS. Participation embodies the principle of collective responsibility for ensuring the organic integrity of the PGS. This collective responsibility is reflected through:
Collective responsibility for implementation and decision making is driven by common shared vision. All the key stakeholders (producers, facilitating agencies, NGOs, social organizations, State Governments and state agencies) support the guiding principles and goals, PGS is striving to achieve and this is achieved initially through their participation and support in the design and then by joining it. This may include commitment in writing through signing an application and pledge that includes the vision.
Transparency is created by having all stakeholders, including producers and consumers, aware of exactly how the guarantee system works to include the standards, the organic guarantee process (norms) with clearly defined and documented systems and how decisions are made.
The integrity base upon which PGS-India programme is built, is rooted in the idea that producers can be trusted and that the organic guarantee system can be an expression and verification of this trust. The foundation of this trust is built from the idea that the key stakeholders collectively develop their shared vision and then collectively continue to shape and reinforce their vision through the PGS. The idea of ‘trust’ assumes that the individual producer has a commitment to protecting nature and consumers’ health through organic production.
PGS India is intended to be non-hierarchical at group level. This will reflect in the overall democratic structure and through the collective responsibility of the PGS group with sharing and rotating responsibility, by engaging producers directly in the peer review of each other’s farms; and by transparency in decision making process.
PGS India while keeping the spirit of PGS intact aims to give the entire movement an institutional structure. This is achieved by networking the groups under common umbrella through various facilitating agencies, Regional Councils and Zonal Councils. National Centre of Organic Farming shall be the custodian of data, define policies and guidelines and undertake surveillance through field monitoring and product testing for residues. Regional councils and facilitating agencies facilitate the groups in capacity building, training, knowledge/ technology dissemination and data uploading on the PGS website.