Participatory Guarantee Scheme (PGS)(Prelims 2020,Mains GS paper 3 Agriculture)

  • FSSAI expects, the Agriculture Ministry’s PGS to incentivise more farmers to grow organic food.
  • Participatory Guarantee Scheme (PGS) is a process of certifying organic products.
  • It ensures that their production takes place in accordance with the laid-down quality standards.
  • The certification is in the form of a documented logo or a statement.
  • The certified organic food production is still very low. The PGS brings together peer group of farmers and the costs are low.
  • According to PGS-India,
  1. An ‘Operational Manual for Domestic Organic Certification’ published in 2015.
  2. It was published by the ‘National Centre of Organic Farming’, Ghaziabad, under the Ministry of Agriculture.
  3. PGS is a quality assurance initiative, operates outside the framework of third-party certification.
  • According to a definition formulated by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM),
  1. PGSs are “locally focused quality assurance systems”.
  2. It certify the producers based on active participation of stakeholders and are built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange.
  3. IFOAM is a Bonn-based global umbrella organisation for the organic agriculture movement.
  • Four pillars of PGS in India are,
  1. Participatory approach, a shared vision, transparency and trust.
  • The advantages of PGS over third-party certification, identified by the government document are,
  1. Procedures are simple, documents are basic, and farmers understand the local language used.
  2. All members live close to each other and are known to each other.
  3. Because peer appraisers live in the same village, they have better access to surveillance.
  4. Peer appraisal instead of third-party inspections also reduces costs.
  5. Mutual recognition and support between regional PGS groups ensures better networking for processing and marketing.
  6. It offers every farmer individual certificates, and the farmer is free to market his own produce independent of the group.
  • Individual farmers or group of farmers smaller than 5 members are not covered under PGS.
  • They either have to opt for third party certification or join the existing PGS local group.

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