Participatory Guarantee System for India is a decentralized organic farming certification system that works outside the framework of third-party certification. PGS India program gives PGS moment a National Recognition and Institutional structure without affecting the spirit of PGS. PGS is built on the foundation of participatory approach, a shared vision, transparency and trust among all the stakeholders, the stakeholders in PGS India are divided into three categories for Local groups, Individual producer/ processors/ handlers and traditional default organic areas. PGS India certification system are facilitated through an institutional network comprising of National Advisory Committee, National Executive Committee, PGS Secretariat, Zonal Councils, Regional Councils and Local Group.
PRERANA has been appointed as Regional Council for PGS-Organic Certification by National Centre of Organic Farming, Government of India. PRERANA’s mandate is to promote adoption of organic agriculture practices by a large number of small and marginal farmers. As a Regional Council, PRERANA aims to provide the PGS certification services with utmost trust and high degree of client satisfaction while ensuring that the certification standards are strictly adhered to.
It is a system of farm design and management to create an eco-system, which can achieve sustainable productivity without the use of artificial external inputs such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Conventional agriculture system depends on artificial and chemical input material and pesticides that are not / not accepted as per NPOP standards.
The process of changing an agricultural farm from conventional to organic farm. This is also called transition.
The period taken to transition a conventional agricultural farm to organic agricultural farm is called conversion period.
PGS 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. To ensure entry of individual farm 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 for farms (Individual & Group), on-farm and off-farm processing and handling. A participatory approach, shared vision, transparency, and trust are the basic element of PGS -India.
NPOP stands for National programme on Organic Production, formulated by Ministry of Commerce, Govt of India.
NSOP stands for National Standards for Organic Production, formulated by Ministry of Commerce, Government of India for National Programme for Organic Production.
Inspection shall include the site visit to verify that the performance of an operation is in accordance with the Organic production standards.
Parellel Production shall mean any production where the same unit is growing, breeding, handling or processing the same products both in a certified organic and a non-certified organic system. Similarly a situation with “organic” and “in conversion” production of the same product is also parallel production.
Certified organic means that Organic product has been certified by accredited certification agency and product has been produced and/ processed according to National and / or International standard for Organic production.
It depends on the history of the land and compliance with the certification standards. Transition to Organic production-Annual crops require a period of 24 months before sowing, Perennial crops require 36 months.
Any independent individual who wishes to grow crops organically.
Organic seeds and planting material are allowed. If organic source is unavailable, chemically untreated seeds, planting materials can be used after permission from the certification body/ regional council.
Soil management shall be by use of green manures, on-farm inputs, intercrop, crop rotation. Those organic or mineral fertilizers that are brought in shall be as per Standard requirements. All GMOs, synthetic nitrogenous fertilisers are prohibited. Sewage sludge, growth regulators are prohibited.
Physical barriers, buffer zones, roadside buffers are measures for physical control. Sign boards on organic farm-Prevent commingling and/or contamination is required.
Use of preventive cultural techniques which limit the development of pests, fostering of insect predators are encouraged. Products used for pest, disease and weed management, prepared at the farm from local plants, animals and microorganisms are allowed. The use of synthetic herbicides, fungicides, growth regulators, synthetic dyes insecticides and other pesticides are prohibited. Permitted products for plant pest and disease control shall be as per standard requirements.
Individual farm producers
PGS-India provides specific provisions to certify these farms through verification and guarantee from nearby PGS-India groups as per the guiding principles of PGS-India for groups. In exceptional cases where there is no PGS-India group nearby for such guarantee then national institutional structure through Regional Councils can assist such farmers for verification of their compliance to PGS-India guarantee process. But such farmers should make all out efforts to create groups and become part of PGS-India groups as and when possible. Individual farmers in villages where PGS-India groups are existing or are in close-by villages of such PGS-India groups, they shall be treated as part of those groups.
Individual producer registration is an interim arrangement and the producer must initiate efforts to bring in other members from the village community to form the group in due course (maximum 2 years) and transform individual status to group status. In case if an individual farmer is unable to form a group even after 2 years, then Regional Council will attach the farmers with the nearest group.
Group of Farmers
Minimum of 5 farmers can form a group and apply for certification abiding by the as per the general guiding principles of PGS-India involving peer appraisal and decision making by group.
Processor & handlers
Off-farm processing and handling in stand-alone facilities away from PGS-groups can also be certified by adopting “Conformity assessment and verification” criteria similar to third party certification systems and individual units will be approved for PGS-India organic processing and handling.
For Local Group – Four group meetings, at least two in each season. One training, any time during the year. First training within 6 months of registration. Peer appraisal to be done during crop growth period starting from 15 days of sowing till 15 days before harvest. Uploading of peer appraisal summary sheet till 7 days before harvest date. Uploading of actual yields within 60 days of harvest. If no TCs are issued and stock remains unsold the PGS-India website will delete the stock in auto mode after 12 months from the date of harvest.
LG need to maintain following documents for verification by RC: Application form of each member with last one year’s farm history ii. Copy of PGS-India pledge of each member iii. Copy of agreement with RC iv. Copy of individual peer appraisal sheets for last four seasons (24 months) till the physical inspection by RC v. Attendance and proceeding register for group meetings vi. Attendance registers for trainings vii. Copy of peer appraisal summary sheet (season-wise as submitted to RC)
The scope certificate issued by the Regional Council will have a unique number, identifying the RC and Local Group along with the farmers along with will also list out the area, crops and products certified during the year as Annexure. The Scope certificates can be used for publicity, trade enquiry or for putting into trade literature and also can use the granted PGS logo.
The packets or containers of PGS certified products along can be printed with PGS logo with UID code. Two separate logos shall be granted for PGS organic and PGS under conversion as follows:
The Products granted with PGS-Organic certification shall use PGS-India organic logo. Products under in-conversion to organic and granted with PGS-Green certification shall use PGS-Green logo. Such products shall not be claimed as organic and only the indication “Under Conversion to Organic” can be used. Logo of the Government programme (such as PKVY of MOVCDNER etc.) may also be indicated on the label. Logo of the Regional Council, certifying the product shall also be affixed on the product.
Minimum of 5 farmers belonging to the same village or close by villages with continuous territory should farm a group and select the Regional Council for endorsement of application, approval of peer appraisal and issuing the PGS -India Scope certificates under PGS -India standards.
Along with signing the basic applications, farm history sheet, all the members in the group have signed the PGS pledge and group agreement to adhere to the group’s specific vision, participatory approach, and collective responsibility.
The local group shall prepare necessary field documents with farm history. Each group shall maintain such documents in a group file comprising of application form, signed pledge, signed agreement, farm maps showing locations with GPS coordinates in respect of each member and last one year history on input usage and management practices. Elect Group leader and core team of peer reviewers (minimum 3 in 5 members group). It will be an optimal situation if all members of the group can participate in peer reviews, as this contributes to capacity building and information exchange between farmers and reduces conflicts of interests.
The local group that is formed need to upload data on PGS website (https://pgsindia-ncof.gov.in/) for obtaining the user ID and password and select the concerned Regional Council. Regional Councils can decide on maximum number of farmers per group keeping local situations in mind.
The Regional Council shall review the documents received and endorse the application for further generating the Unique Identity number (Local Group Number) and activate all the farmers.
In case of Individual farmer, he/she can Request the Peer appraisers of nearby group to physically inspect the farm and fill peer appraisal form. Filled peer appraisal farm to be submitted to Regional Council.
Peer reviewers will ensure to complete Peer review appraisal form, sign and submit to the group leader. Each farmer is to be appraised by at least a two-member team. Inclusion of consumer’s representative increases the credibility and trust. Upload peer appraisal summary sheet for the entire group on the PGS-India website along with necessary group decision and send signed hard copy to Regional Council through post.
In case of individual farmer, in case if no group is close by then requested RC shall do physical inspection and grant certification.
The regional Council shall review the peer appraisal details on PGS portal and also participate in few field inspections to compare the peer appraisal summary findings with RCs own physical evaluation report, take into consideration previous non-compliances, complaints and investigation findings if any. The peer appraisal data is approved and PGS -India Scope Certificate is issued with estimated yield by the Regional Council.
Uploading of actual yields is necessary to obtain Transaction Certificates (TC) by the local group.
On approval of yields by RC, group can sell its produce as PGS certified produce and can generate Transaction Certificate on-line. TCs can be issued for each and every farmer member separately.
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