Participatory Guarantee System for India
Operational Manual for Domestic Organic Certification
[National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture]
Government of India
Ministry of Agriculture
Department of Agriculture and Co-operation
National Centre of Organic Farming
Sector 19, Hapur Road, Ghaziabad-201002
CT - Chemically Treated
DAC - Department of Agriculture and Cooperation
EM - Effective Microorganism
GMO - Genetically Modified Organisms
ICS - Internal Control System
IFOAM - International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements
INM - Integrated Nutrient Management
LG- Local Group
NAC - National Advisory Committee
NCOF - National Centre of Organic Farming
NGO - Non-Government Organization
NPOP - National Programme for Organic Production
NT - Non-Treated
RC - Regional Council
RCOF - Regional Centre of Organic Farming
UID - Unique Id
ZC - Zonal Council
Accredited certification agency - An agency accredited by National Accreditation Body under National Programme on Organic Production (NPOP) for certification of organic production system.
Ayurvedic - Ayurveda is a traditional naturopathic system of medicines and health care of India.
Buffer zone - A clearly defined and identifiable boundary area bordering an organic production site that is established to limit application of, or contact with, prohibited substances from an adjacent area.
Co-mingling – Accidental or intentional mixing of organic and conventional produce
Contamination - Pollution of organic product or land; or contact with any material that would render the product unsuitable for organic certification.
Conversion period – The time period required for converting a conventional farm to organic farm.
Diversity – Creation of biological diversity by planting different types of trees, bushes and plants and by taking various types of crops simultaneously at given time
Habitat management - Practices and protocols for management of an area in which ideal environment is created for existence of various plant or animal species naturally.
Homeopathy - Homeopathy is a system of medicine based on the principle of
“Similia, Similibus, Curentur (let likes be treated by likes)”.
Facilitating agency – A agency hired by the Local Group to assist in management and implementation of PGS norms, including data management on PGS website on behalf of Local Group/(s).
Local Group – A group of farmers working together for participatory organic guarantee programme under PGS-India norms and guidelines
Livestock - Means any domestic or domesticated animal including bovine (including buffalo and bison), porcine, caprine, equine, poultry and bees raised for food or in the production of food. The products obtained by hunting or fishing of wild animals shall not be considered as part of this definition.
Parallel production - Means any production system where the same unit is growing, breeding, handling or processing the similar products both in organic and in non- organic system.
Part Conversion - Means when part of a conventional farm or unit has already been converted to organic production or processing and a part is either conventional or in the process of conversion.
PGS-NAC – PGS-National Advisory Committee is the apex policy and decision making body for PGS-India programme at Department of Agriculture and Cooperation.
Zonal Council – An agency authorized by PGS-NAC to coordinate and monitor the functioning of Regional Councils under PGS-India organic Guarantee programme.
Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) - 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.
As per the definition of IFOAM (2008) "Participatory Guarantee Systems are locally focused quality assurance systems. They certify producers based on active participation of stakeholders and are built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange.
Peer Review - A process whereby people in similar situations (in this case small holder producers) in some way assess the production practices of their peers. The process can be formal or informal.
Pledge – Pledge is a written document by the operator or local group member committing to abide by the organic production system as per the PGS-India norms.
Regional Council - An agency authorized by PGS-NAC to coordinate, monitor and approve certification decisions of Local Group under PGS-India organic Guarantee programme.
Third Party Certification – An organic guarantee programme operated under National Programme on Organic Production involving an independent agency for verification and certification of organic production processes.
Unani – Ancient system of medicines and health care emerged from Europe.
Veterinary – A modern health care system for animals.
Participatory Guarantee System For India (PGS-India)
Organic producers around the world have been developing methods to guarantee the organic integrity of their products for fifty years. Today, what are generally referred to as Third‐Party Certification systems have become the dominant means of Organic Guarantee for world trade and Indian producers have accredited Third‐ Party Organic Certification agencies to choose from. While Third Party Certification is an essential component to world trade, there are downsides to the system. The inherent expense and paperwork required in a multi‐level system discourages most small organic producers from being certified at all. This limits local and domestic trade as well as access to organic products. Worse yet, it limits the growth of the Organic Movement as a whole.
In an attempt to reduce the inequality, a number of alternative methods to guarantee the Organic integrity of products have been developed for small domestic producers, and they are growing rapidly. These alternative programs are now collectively referred to as Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS). The term PGS embodies the active participation of producers and other stakeholders in their organic guarantee process.
Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) is a quality assurance initiative that is locally relevant, emphasize the participation of stakeholders, including producers and consumers and operate outside the frame work of third party certification. As per IFOAM (2008) definition "Participatory Guarantee Systems are locally focused quality assurance systems. They certify producers based on active participation of stakeholders and are built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange”. PGS is a process in which people in similar situations (in this case small holder producers) assess, inspect and verify the production practices of each other and take decision on organic certification (PGS-Green and PGS-Organic ).
PGS system has number of basic elements which embrace a participatory approach, a shared vision, transparency and trust. Participation is an essential and dynamic part of PGS. Key stakeholders (producers, consumers, retailers, traders and others such as NGOs, Societies/ Gram panchayats/ State/Central Govt. organization/agencies /farmer etc.,) are engaged in the initial design, and then in the operation of the PGS. In the operation of a PGS, stakeholders (including producers) are involved in decision making and essential decisions about the operation of the PGS itself. In addition to being involved in the mechanics of the PGS, stakeholders, particularly the producers are engaged in a structured ongoing learning process, which helps them improve what they do. This process is facilitated by the PGS group itself or in some situations a supportive NGO/ Societies, Gram panchayats, State/Central Govt. organization/agencies etc. The learning process is usually „hands-on‟ and involves field days or workshops. The idea of participation embodies the principle of collective responsibility for ensuring the organic integrity of the PGS.
Guiding Principles for Participatory Guarantee System
In tune with the international trends and IFOAM’s PGS Guidelines, PGS India system is also based on participatory approach, a shared vision, transparency and trust. 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 stakeholders (producers, consumers, retailers, traders and others such as NGOs, Societies, Gram panchayats, State/Central Govt. organization/agencies etc., ) are engaged in the initial design, and then in the operation of the PGS and decision making.
The idea of participation embodies the principle of a collective responsibility for ensuring the organic integrity of the PGS. This collective responsibility is reflected through:
- Shared ownership of the PGS
- Stakeholder engagement in the development process
- Understanding of how the system works and
- Direct communication between producers and consumers and other stakeholders, producers, consumers, retailers, traders and others such as NGOs, Societies, Gram panchayats, State/Central Govt. organization/agencies
Together these help to shape the integrity based approach and a formula for trust. An important tool for promoting this trust is having operational processes that are transparent. This includes transparency in decision making, easy access to the data base and where possible farms are open to participation and visits of consumers. Participation of traders/ retailers or consumers in decision making may not be possible under all situations, but their participation in any form will increase the credibility and trustworthiness of the group.
Collective responsibility for implementation and decision making is driven by common shared vision. All the key stakeholders (producers, consumers, retailers, traders and others such as NGOs, Societies, Gram panchayats, State/Central Govt. organization/agencies etc.) support the guiding principles and goals, PGS is striving to achieve. This can be 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/ document that includes the vision.
Each stakeholder organization (or PGS group) can adopt its own vision conforming to the overall vision and standards of PGS- India programme.
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. Public access will be ensured to documentation and information about the PGS groups, such as lists of certified producers and details about their farms and non-compliance actions. These will be available through a dedicated National database websites(PGS-INDIA web portal). But still it does not mean that entire information on National PGS database will be available to everyone.
At the grass roots level transparency is maintained through the active participation of the producers in the organic guarantee process which can include
- Information sharing at meetings and workshops
- Participation in internal inspections (peer reviews)
- Involvement in decision
The integrity base upon which PGS are 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 ways this trust is reflected may depend entirely on factors that are culturally/ socially specific to the PGS group.
The idea of „trust‟ assumes that the individual producer has a commitment to protecting nature, maintaining biodiversity, maintenance of soil health, and consumers‟ health through organic production which are free from chemical residues.
Mechanism for expressing trustworthiness includes:
- Declaration (a producer pledge) via a witnessed signing of a pledge document
- Written collective undertaking by the group to abide by the norms, principles and standards of 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 also aims to give the entire movement an institutional structure. This is proposed to be achieved by networking the groups under common umbrella through various facilitating agencies, Regional Councils and Zonal Councils. To make the system completely transparent and accessible to traders and consumers entire data will be hosted on a common platform in the form of a website (PGS-INDIA). 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 will facilitate the local groups in capacity building, training, knowledge/ technology dissemination and data uploading on the PGS website. But at every stage it will be ensured that these agencies including apex body do not interfere in the working and decision making of the group. Even if surveillance is done and reports are made, the same will also be put on website in public domain. What action is to be taken on adverse reports will be left to the group and Regional Council.
Advantages of PGS over third party certification system
In PGS organic farmers have full control over the certification process and are able to produce far more credible and effective system of quality assurance compared to third party certification. Important benefits of this system over third party certification system are as follows:
- The procedures are simple; documents are basic and use the local language understandable to
- All the members are local and known to each other. Being themselves practicing organic farmers have high degree of understanding on day-to- day knowledge or acquaintance of the
- Peer appraisers are among the group and live in the same village, therefore have better access to surveillance
- Peer appraisal instead of third party inspections reduces cost
- Mutual recognition and support between Regional PGS groups ensures better networking for processing and
- Empowers farmers with increased capacity building
- Bring consumers to the farm without the need of middleman
- Unlike grower group certification system, PGS offer every farmer with individual certificate and each farmer is free to market its own produce independent of
- Consumers and buyers are often involved in production and verification process
- Random residue testing at regular intervals ensures the integrity and increases the
Limitations of PGS
PGS certification is only for farmers or communities that can organize and perform as a group within the village or in close-by villages with continuous territory and is applicable on, on-farm activities comprising of crop production, processing and livestock rearing (including bee keeping) and off-farm processing "by PGS farmers of their direct products".
Individual farmers or group of farmers having less than 5 members are not covered under PGS. They either have to opt for third party certification or join the existing PGS local group.
PGS is applicable on on-farm activities comprising of crop production, processing and livestock rearing and off-farm processing "by PGS farmers of their direct products". Off-farm processing activities such as, storage, transport and value addition activities by persons/agencies other then PGS farmers away from the group are not covered under PGS. Off-farm input approval granted by the group is applicable on the members of the same group and cannot be taken as a basis for universal approval for other groups. Off-farm inputs need to be approved by each group for their member’s use on case to case basis.
PGS ensures traceability only up to end till it is in the custody of PGS group. Once the product leaves the custody of PGS group there is no control of PGS on its integrity, Therefore PGS is ideal for local direct sales/ direct trade between producer and consumer and direct trade of packed finished product with PGS logo between PGS group and traders/ retailers. But Local Groups and buyers in consultation with RC can devise some mechanism with full traceability records to allow use of PGS logo on products packed by traders/ retailers.
Schematic operational structure of the PGS India is given below:
Local groups (Farmers group) (LGs)
Regional Councils (RCs)
Zonal Councils (RCOFs)
National Centre of Organic Farming (NCOF) (PGS-INDIA Secretariat)
National Advisory Committee (NAC)
Structure, Role and Responsibilities of different key Stakeholders
National Advisory Committee for PGS (PGS-NAC)
National advisory committee shall be the apex policy making body for PGS India Programme with following composition:
- Joint Secretary (INM), DAC - Chairman
- Director, NCOF Executive Secretary
- Regional Director, RCOF I Member
- Regional Director, RCOF II Member
- Additional Commissioner Member
- Dy Commissioner (INM), DAC Member
- Head Zonal Councils/(s) Member
- Representatives of RC (North) Members
- Representatives of RC (South) Members
- Representatives of RC (East) Members
- Representatives of RC (West) Members
- Farmers’ representatives Members (4, one from each region)
- Consumers representatives Member
First Six members of the committee will be permanent members, as they are represented by their position. Representatives of Regional Councils will be nominated to the committee by election for a fixed tenure of two years. Representatives of farmers and consumers will be selected and co-opted by the other members of the committee on the recommendations of RC and ZCs. The farmer representative is required to be the member of a Local Group from that region with certain standing.
Role and Responsibility
PGS-NAC being apex policy making body shall be responsible for:
- Defining operational and policy guidelines and PGS India In case of changes the committee shall ensure that the amendments/ modifications are considered "through intensive consultation with the base”.
- Make changes, improvements and amendments to the programme and national coordination structure as a whole without interference in the autonomic functioning of Regional councils and local groups. Co-ordinate and monitor national level capacity building, education, outreach and surveillance
- Selection and Authorization of Zonal and Regional Councils
- Surveillance and monitoring on the functioning of Zonal and Regional councils
- Sanction/ withdrawal of authorization to Zonal/ Regional councils on being found not functioning or not functioning according to the
Meetings of PGS-NAC
PGS-NAC will meet at least once a year to review the implementation process and for authorization of new councils. PGS-NAC meetings can also be convened at the discretion of the Chairman and/ or on the request of at least 25% members to take up important matter.
Any policy change, modification in standards and sanctions/ punishments needs to be endorsed by the majority of members present in the meeting. Minimum quorum for a meeting will be 30% of total strength. If it is not possible to convene a meeting, urgent issues can be decided by circulation. In all such cases at least 50% of responding members within the given time frame must endorse the decision.
To give the programme a head start there may a need to meet PGS-NAC at regular intervals in the initial years. Later once the programme is settled the PGS-NAC may meet only once or twice a year.
Travel expanses of non-officials (members of NGO based ZC, RC and Farmers and consumers representatives) shall be borne by PGS Secretariat.
NCOF as PGS Secretariat
National Centre of Organic Farming will be the Secretariat of the PGS programme with Director NCOF as the Executive authority. Key role and responsibilities of the Secretariat will be as follows:
- All executive and secretarial responsibilities related to execution of the programme, NAC meetings, implementation of the decisions of NAC, matters to be put up to NAC and coordination with NAC members
- Advise NAC on all technical and implementation issues
- Capacity building, education, training and outreach activities for Zonal and Regional
- Training of local group leaders through RCOFs in collaboration with Zonal Council and Regional
- Surveillance and monitoring of Zonal and Regional Councils
- PGS India Website design, hosting and maintenance
- Custodian of entire PGS India database
- Receipt and processing of applications for authorization of NAC as Zonal/Regional Councils
- Facilitate election of members from RCs for nomination to PGS-NAC.
- Facilitate and maintain positive relationship with controllers of Third party certification system to ensure the compatibility of PGS programme with NPOP.
- Coordinate and liaise with different State Governments for promotion and popularization of PGS
- Surveillance of PGS products through residue testing including collection of PGS samples, getting those samples tested for residue analysis and hosting of residue analysis results on PGS
- Appellate authority for local groups against the actions and decisions of Regional Councils/Zonal councils and for Regional Councils against the action of Zonal
- Literature development, publicity, technology dissemination and awareness creation through print and electronic
Except surveillance and monitoring on Zonal/ Regional Councils, the PGS secretariat in no way will interfere in the autonomic functioning of Zonal/Regional Councils and local groups. Even in some cases where secretariat undertakes monitoring of some local groups and find some non-compliance, the same will be reported to the concerned Regional Council for further course of action at their discretion. Even in the cases where the PGS samples have been found to be having pesticide residues, the report will be hosted on the website with information to the concerned Regional Council for further action at their discretion.
As India is a large country with most of the producers as small and marginal, it is expected there will large numbers of small-small groups in different states and geographical regions. To coordinate such small groups effectively it is desirable that Regional Councils are locally placed and do not need to travel long distances for effective coordination with local groups. Under such scenario it is likely that there are numerous Regional Councils. To have effective coordination with Regional Councils it is proposed to have up to Six Zonal Councils. Initially there may be only two Zonal Councils (North and South Zone) but in due course of time with the increase in number of RCs the number of NCs may be increased up to Six (North, South, East, West, North-East and Central). To start the programme, pending selection and appointment of Zonal Council, NCOF and its Regional Centres will act as Zonal Council. Once the Zonal Councils are appointed the responsibility will be transferred to these Zonal Councils and NCOF and RCOF will only be undertaking the functions assigned to it as PGS Secretariat. For State-Agency Regional Councils NCOF/RCOF shall be the Zonal councils.
Appointment of Zonal Councils
Zonal Councils will be appointed by the PGS-NAC on the recommendations of PGS secretariat. Only well-established organizations with proven dedication to the cause of organic agriculture movement and well versed with the organic guarantee/ certification systems will be considered. Zonal Councils should be self-dependent bodies with strong financial health. RCOFs shall be the Zonal councils.
Role and Responsibilities
- Receipt, processing and authenticity verification of application for authorization as Regional Council. On being found suitable forwarding of applications to PGS secretariat for approval of PGS-NAC.
- Provide up-dated documents, policies, literature and other technical input to RCs for further information of local
- Coordinate Regional Council Training workshops
- Coordinate national level education and outreach activities in collaboration with PGS
- Surveillance and monitoring on the functioning of Regional
- Complaint redressal of farmers and local groups against the functioning and actions of Regional councils
- Appellate authority on complaints of certificate denial by RC or sanctions imposed by RC on local groups
- Appellate authority on complaints of traders/ retailers/ consumers on the quality/ organic integrity of PGS products of particular group and action taken by RC or inaction of
- Collaborate PGS Secretariat in collection of PGS certified samples for residue analysis
Regional Council (RC) can ideally be floated by State agencies, existing NGOs, Organic Certification service providers of Central and State Governments or any other agency((producers, consumers, retailers, traders and Societies / Gram panchayats/ farmer etc.,). Local groups with three years standing in PGS programme are allowed to form their own RC, provided they have support for at least 10 local groups. Local groups dissatisfied with the functioning and control of their existing RC can, any time, come-together to form a new RC, provided they have support of at least 10 local groups, and apply to PGS secretariat through Zonal Council/RCOF for necessary authorization.
Initially to start the programme the RCs will be selected by the ZC and PGS secretariat, existing PGS regional facilitators (regional councils, members of the existing PGS Organic India council) will also be considered for appointment as RCs if they apply and meet the criteria, but in due course of time the local groups will be encouraged to come forward with their own RCs. Nomination of RCs to PGS- NAC will be done by election on Regional basis. Each RC will have one vote.
Eligibility criteria for appointment of any agency as RC
- May have proven record on promotion of agriculture and organic management practices
- Situated in the area of functioning with permanent office and working personals.
- Have access to computer, printer and internet facility
- At least one member is well versed with data handling and data uploading in computer on internet
- Adequate knowledge on organic guarantee/ certification systems and/ or previous experience in supporting Third party certification/Participatory Guarantee Systems or promotion of agricultural activities in rural .
- Should have support and endorsement from at least 10 local groups Members should undergo necessary PGS training meant for RCs organized by ZC and PGS secretariat
- Have adequate financial resources to operate as Regional
- Each RC will be initially authorized for a period of three Authorization needs renewal after every three years. Renewal will be considered by NAC on application by the RC and on the recommendation and surveillance report of ZC and PGS secretariat.
Role and responsibility of Regional Council
- Training and support to existing and new local groups in procedures and paper work necessary for each farmer’s organic
- Translate and print PGS paper work in local language
- Register local groups and issue user ID and password for data uploading on PGS-India
- Facilitate local groups in data uploading on PGS website, if local group do not have access to computer and
- Confirms that the Local Group Summary Worksheet listing all the farms that are to be Certified Organic is complete and was conscientiously maintained by the
- Cannot pick and choose individual farmers to certify, only approve/confirms the collective decision of the Local Group as a whole and organic integrity of the system adopted by the local group.
Ideally once a Local Group summary sheet with collective decision of the group signed by at least three lead members is endorsed by the RC, the RC activates the UID. On UID activation the group can directly print the certificates for all its members, but in case if the group does not have access to computer and internet then the same will be facilitated by RC.
- Activate and/or issue certification UID number to each approved Local Group (received from the instant UID Pool maintained on PGS Website).
- Print and distribute annual Organic Certificates for individual
- Participate in sampling of Local Group farm appraisals
- Provide Local Groups with guidelines for “Non‐compliance Sanctions”
- Participate in online system to provide Summary Worksheet information to interested parties and helps to connect interested parties with the Local Groups for access to individual farmers’ Organic Guarantee
- To ensure complete transparency of the certification process
- To facilitate Mutual Recognition and Support for the various groups (and individual farmers) on a national level by allowing Regional Councils to audit the Organic Guarantee of certified farms in other Regional
- To quickly build trust and credibility in the system as a whole ensure access to members of the public and
- Submission of annual reports on PGS activity in a prescribed format to NCOF/RCOFs.
- Organize sufficient training to farmers on organic farming activity , assist in annual action plan preparation, packing, marketing, logo preparation, transportation etc.,
- Residual analysis and Soil testing of samples through NABL labs
- Assist farmers/LGs to upload data relating to PGS activity in PGS web portal
Local Group (LG)
Local group is the main functional and decision making body under Participatory Guarantee System. It is a local group of farmers that live in the same village or close by villages and interact regularly with each other. Participation of consumers or representatives of traders or retailers in the group and its functioning should be encouraged as it strengthens the integrity and trust. The local group can be an existing organic group previously working under third party certification system or under the NGO-based PGS Organic India Council or a new grassroots group started and run by interested local farmers/consumers, or it can be started by a regional NGO or Government agency that has agreed to facilitate the formation of a PGS Local Group by coaching an initial group of farmers through the process. The PGS Local Group function is even easier to add on to an existing group of farmers (for example Farmer Self Help Groups or Farmer Cooperatives or Societies.)
Requirement and eligibility criteria for a local group
- A Local group should comprise of minimum 5 members belonging to same village or close by villages with continuous territory. Regional Councils can decide on maximum number of farmers per group keeping local situations in mind.
- Adequate participation of women farmers shall be ensured.
- training on PGS guarantee system organized by Regional Councils, Zonal Council or PGS Secretariat or have been part of the core team of other functional PGS group for at least two years.
- All the members in the group have signed the PGS pledge and group agreement to adhere to the group specific vision, participatory approach and collective responsibility.
- Although, there is no restriction on the size of holding of any individual farmer but in any case the holding of one single member should not exceed one third of the total land under the group.
- Under PGS organic guarantee system normally parallel production and part conversion is not allowed, therefore it is necessary that all group members need to bring their entire farm with livestock under organic management as per the PGS However, Regional Councils in some cases may allow conversion in phases, but in any case the entire farm holding of the group members must be brought under PGS organic management within 24 months of joining the group.
- Have access to PGS documents and preferably have access to computer and internet
If a farmer under PGS group fails to convert his entire land holding and livestock within the stipulated 24 months time, then he will not be eligible for PGS organic certification and shall continue to remain under conversion.
- Registered with Concerned Regional Council and have obtained necessary user ID and password to upload data on PGS website.
- In case if farmer group is unable to operate on-line system of data up loading then the services can be availed from Regional Council or of any other facilitating agency or local NGO etc.
- In case if it is essentially required to use off farm products for organic cultivation, in such cases it should get approval from PGS-India Secretariat to use any such products.
Role and Responsibility of Local Group
- Organize farmers in the group and each member individually sign PGS organic pledge and group agreement.
- Provide copies of PGS standards, operational manual and appraisal forms to all the members in local language. If farmers are illiterate then they need to be explained details and standards orally and through pictorial representations.
- Prepare necessary field documents with individual farm history.
- Elect Group leader and core team of peer reviewers (minimum 3 in 5 member group). There is no upper limit. 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.
- Participate in the activities of any other registered PGS group to understand the functioning of the PGS Implement standard requirements on the farms of all the group members and obtain endorsement from the other registered group. This endorsement is needed only once at the time of registration.
- Register the group on PGS website (facility available on-line) and obtain registration approval from the nearest Regional Council.
The Local Groups need to be approved only once and no further renewal is needed. If there are repeated problems (missing paperwork, a random pesticide inspection turns up a problem, a random oversight inspection turns up a problem, etc) THEN they could get disbanded / sanctioned and have to re-apply and could get re-entry only after taking necessary correction and thorough verification by RC.
- If no PGS registered group is there in the vicinity then State Agencies (State Agriculture Department District Officer) may be requested to verify the requirement and submit necessary verification report to RC. Else request RC to do verification and grant registration approval. RCOFs can also be requested for verification and endorsements of Local Groups for their recognition by Regional Council.
- Obtain User ID and password from RC for time to time data up loading.
- Organize time to time meetings and maintain attendance register. Participation of members in these meetings is a mandatory activity and is an indication of dedication of the member to the cause of group’s guarantee scheme. There should be at least 6 times a year, compulsory meetings or more frequently as specified by the Regional council and at key times of the year depending on the season, the crops, etc.
- Every member need to attend at least 50% of the meetings in a year and sign in attendance register.
- Advise each other and share information to improve the capacity of the group as a whole.
- Organize regular training courses by inviting practicing organic farmers from other groups, RC members or experts of other State Govt and Non-Govt agencies.
- Chalk out peer appraisal strategy and ensure timely appraisal of each farm at least twice a year. Peer reviewers will ensure to complete Peer review appraisal form, sign and submit to the group leader. Each farm is to be appraised by at least a three member team. Inclusion of consumer’s representative increases the credibility and and trust.
- Inspection of peer reviewer’s farms by another peer reviewer group. To increase credibility and trust the group may have any number of peer reviewers.
- At appropriate time the group decides which farmers are to be certified. Separate out farmers which are yet to comply with the certification requirements. List out defaulters and impose sanctions.
- Organize final decision meeting explain the reviewer’s results to all the members. Collectively declare the group as conforming to PGS standards (in case of small groups, up to 10 members). If the group is large then elect a sub-group or certification committee, comprising of 5 or more members, which may review the results and decide upon the Approval of majority group members is required only in the cases of negative decision (denial of certification or decertification). Full member body can also serve as an appeal body against the decision of certification committee.
- At appropriate time prepare summary sheet with list of farmers declared certified with details of crops and expected quantity of produce.
- Submit summary sheet to the RC with all other documents as required by RC. In case if data has already been up loaded by the Group on-line, then provide only the signed hard copy of the summary sheet.
- On getting the approval from RC on-line the certificates can be printed directly from the website and distributed to the individual farmers.
- If there is any off farm materials is need to be used for organic production should be get approval from NCOF/RCOFs before to using them in crop production.
Farmer/ Farm family
As in PGS, part conversion and parallel production is not allowed, the entire family with its farm and livestock is to be converted to organic and covered under PGS within the stipulated period. Any farm family willing to embrace organic methods of cultivation and become part of Participatory organic guarantee system, the first step in the process is to become part of PGS group in the same village or in nearby village.
Role and responsibilities of farm family
- Develop an understanding of organic standards and participatory guarantee system. This can be done by obtaining the copy of PGS standards and understanding it through reading, participation in PGS group meetings and discussion with existing farmers.
- Make sure that farm practices are compliant to the standards and PGS norms
- Fill farm history sheet, registration form and make a pledge that they understand organic system of cultivation and commit to adhere to the organic standards
- Participate in appraisals/ inspections of other farms in the local group
- Participate in key field day trainings
- Participate in local group meetings and advise neighbours, share information and improve the capacity of the group as a whole
- Allow consumers/ buyers visits of the farms
Certification process with Farmer and Farm
- Farmer decides to embrace organic farming and willing to be a part of PGS certification process
- Reads or hear a summary of organic standards. For better understanding, participation in group meetings will be beneficial
- Stops using all synthetic and chemical inputs on farm and on livestock.
- Undertake adequate measures for contamination control, habitat management, diversity and livestock integration.
- In case farmer is unable to bring his entire land holding and livestock under organic management at the time of entry to group, then provide a time schedule in which farmer proposes to convert his entire holding to organic and obtain gradual conversion approval from group. In turn Group need to obtain approval of Regional Council.
- Signs a PGS pledge committing to adherence to standards
- Regularly participates in group meetings and key field day trainings
- If possible maintain a farm and livestock diary to list out farm operations. Illiterate farmers can take help of their literate sons or daughters or even the other literate members of the group.
- Participate in peer appraisals of other farmers, first as shadow reviewer and then later as part of peer appraisal team.
- The farmer is appraised by a group of peers from the local group, at least once in every crop season. A minimum of three (or more as per the decision of the group) peer reviewers must be present to sign and validate the appraisal form.
- If possible an external advisor or representative of trader/ consumers or a local State Agriculture Department Officer may be included. But their presence is not mandatory.
- To ensure consistent (i.e. complete but not overzealous) appraisals, all appraisals are scripted and include both physical checks of various parts of the farm and more importantly questions to make sure that the farmer understands the organic standards and they are complying to all the requirements
- Literate member of the appraisal group makes sure that every point in the appraisal script is completed and checked off. At the end, all reviewers present must sign off as supporting references and endorse the farmer‟s organic guarantee. Peer appraisals are done in the presence of the farmer or his family member and at the end of the inspection Peer appraisal sheet is also to be signed by the farmer.
- After inspecting all the members in a group, a decision is made by the group as a whole or by the certification committee about which farmers will and won’t be certified in a given year.
- Group prepares local group summary worksheet on-line and sends signed hard copy to the Regional Council.
- On acceptance by RC, Group prints individual certificate and distribute to the farmers.
|If a farmer has satisfactorily completed the 3 main requirements of being certified (Attendance at group meeting and field‐trainings, Farmer’s Pledge and Peer Appraisal) they will most likely be certified. PGS is an inclusive system based on trust. This is different from a Third Party system where the farmer has to convince the certifier of his/her “innocence” with huge amounts of paper “proof” as to his/ her organic integrity. In a small village, neighbouring farmers know what happens on each other’s farms, and these are the same neighbours empowered to make a final decision as to who is and isn’t certified. A non‐compliance by one farmer could influence the certification status of the group as a whole, so for that reason (among others) neighbouring farmers are more likely to:|
There are ample evidences that the power of local social control is far greater than that wielded by trained Third-Party inspectors who are outsiders and further visit only a few hours in a given year.
Certification Process by Local Group (LG)
- Form a group comprising of minimum 5 farmers (belonging to close by villages with continuous territory).
- Collect registration and farm history sheet from all the members.
- Obtain copies of PGS Standards and PGS operational documents from nearest RC and distribute to all the These documents can also be downloaded from PGS website.
- Convene the meeting of all the members and ask all the members to sign the pledge.
- Prepare Local Group operational manual detailing requirement of documents to be maintained by farmers, peer appraisal methodology and checkpoints to be assessed, based on the broad guidelines of PGS-India norms
- Ensure that members have committed to convert their entire land holding and livestock to organic. In case if some members propose to convert their land in phases then draw appropriate strategies to distinctly separate such units with organic ones.
- Invite already registered another Local Group to verify the group formation and obtain necessary In case if there is no other PGS-LG close by, then contact local State Agriculture office, demonstrate the group’s strength on organic and obtain endorsement. Alternatively apply to the RC and request RC to undertake verification. RCOFs can also be requested for endorsement of Local Groups.
- Register the group on-line on PGS In case if the group do not have access to computer and internet, then services of an local computer operator/ internet cafe can be taken. Alternatively fill all the forms and submit to RC for uploading the information on PGS website.
- Enter into agreement with the RC for services to be availed on payment basis (as per mutual agreement).
- Request RC to grant registration, user ID and password.
- Follow the PGS guidelines on group meetings, key field trainings and knowledge sharing.
- Keep vigil on neighbouring farmer’s farms and if some non-compliances are noticed then inform other group members during group meetings
- Ensure timely organization of training programmes in collaboration with RC.
- Invite practicing organic farmers and other local experts for problem solving in management issues such as in nutrient management, pest management etc during key trainings and group meetings.
- Maintain attendance register for group meeting and key field trainings
- If member farmers are using or propose to use off-farm inputs then verify their organic status, discuss in group meetings and endorse or prohibit their use. Use of such inputs without group’s approval shall be treated as non- compliance.
- Chalk out peer appraisal schedule and constitute peer appraisal groups. Each group should have minimum 3 peer appraisers. Depending upon the number of farmers there can be any number of appraisal teams comprising of three or more At least one member in the appraisal team must be literate and well versed in filling the appraisal forms.
- Reciprocal review between two member group farms is not allowed (i.e. A reviews the B and B reviews A).
- Invite other group peer reviewers or representatives of consumers/ traders or local State Agriculture Department officer as invited member of the peer group (but their participation is not mandatory). This may increase the trust and credibility of the group Guarantee.
- Complete peer review of all the farms at least once in each season. Ensure that all farms have been reviewed objectively.
- Discuss review reports in the meetings and decide upon the organic status of each farm one by one.
- Segregate farmers who have fulfilled all the requirements and consider them for grant of certificate
- Discuss about the non-complying farmers and depending upon the nature and gravity of non-compliances issue sanctions.
- Appraisal paper work is checked for completeness and a local Group Summary Worksheet is prepared.
- Group or certification committee decides on certification and declares certification status of each group member.
- Enter all details on-line in PGS website and send signed copy of the summary worksheet to the RC. Alternatively send all details in hard copy along with signed copy of summary sheet to RC for uploading the data into PGS website.
- Regional Council check details provided in hard copy or on-line. While deciding on approval RC takes into consideration surveillance report (if any done), complaints received, residue analysis report etc. RC cannot decide on inclusion or non-inclusion of specific farmers based on information provided, it can decide only on approval or non-approval of certification of the Local Group as a whole. On being satisfied, grants necessary approval on-line.
- LG prints certificate from PGS website and distribute to individual farmers. Alternatively LG requests RC to print the certificates and send to Group leader for distribution.
|Only the farmers which have completed full conversion period without any major or serious non-compliance be declared as “PGS-Organic”. Farmers which have one or more major non-compliance or are under conversion period will be declared as “PGS-Green”. Only the crops sown after joining the group, taking the PGS pledge in conformity of PGS standards and fully conforming to the PGS standard requirements as per the recommendations of peer reviewers shall qualify for “PGS-Green”. 3 continuous advisory on same issue can shift the status of member.|
Certification Process by Regional Council
- Receive registration applications (on-line or off-line or in hard copy) of Local Groups (LG). Check details of individual farmer history. Check for other group recommendation or endorsement by Central/State Govt authorities.
- Finalize working modalities and if required enter into some sort of agreement including payment of fee for services If data uploading work is to be done by RC then finalize necessary modalities for the same.
- Ensure that LG has brought their entire holdings under organic. In cases of gradual conversion verify the facts and on being satisfied, grant necessary approval with time frame.
- On being found adequate and finalization of working modalities/ agreement etc grant registration.
- If data and application have been provided on-line then approve registration on-line and provide user ID and password on PGS website.
- If application is in hard copy or off-line then upload the information on website and grant registration with user ID and password.
- Provide copy of PGS standards and LG operational manual guidelines.
- Time to time organize training programmes and if possible participate in some of the group meetings or key field trainings of group.
- Encourage and build the capacity of the group for on-line data management (may be through internet café)
- If required undertake random surveillance on some groups for assessment of standards implementation and capacity of the Local Group
- Receipt and redressal of complaints against the LGs and their functioning
- On receipt of entire data set and Local Group Summary Sheet, screen the details and on being found compliant to PGS standards and norms approve grant of certification. Approval is to be issued on-line for printing of certificate at Local Groups end.
- RC needs to endorse the certification decision of the LG, if requirements have been met and there are no complaints, adverse residue testing report or adverse surveillance report etc.
- In case of Non-approval, reasons must be communicated in writing with justification.
- The RC needs to decide on certification request within 15 days from the date of uploading the LG-summary sheet or submitting the hard copy of the group decision to RC. If RC fails to endorse the decision of the LG or otherwise within 15 days then ZC need to intervene and decide the issue within next 7 days. In case if ZC also fails to intervene and decide in time then the group can approach PGS Secretariat for decision.
Note that the Regional Council doesnotmake a decision to include or not include specific farmers based on the information provided. They can only approve or not approve the certification of the Local Group as a whole.
One example where this might apply would be if the Regional Council has a concern about Farmer X (for example because of a random pesticide residue test result) but the Local Group continues to list that farmer as Certified Organic with no sanctions and no explanation, the Regional Council may rightly be concerned and withhold certification approval of all farmers in the Local Group.
Another example could be that the Regional Council feels that some individual farmers’ Peer
Appraisals were faked or handled in a sloppy fashion. While the Regional Council cannot hold-up the certification status of those specific farms, they can and SHOULD withhold certification approval from the Local Group as a whole.
Although the individual farmer is part of a Group Guarantee process, the Organic Certificate and identification number is given to them individually. Unlike with Third Party Group Certification, there is no requirement of common point of sale, and the farmer may sell to whomsoever they wish separately from the group.
For sales that are not local and direct to consumers, a system to maintain integrity through the chain of custody as well as to give consumers more confidence and immediate feedback about batches requires that the code number for each Local Group appears on every bag/batch shipped through non- direct sales channels.
- In case if the group has no access to internet and computer The Regional Council enters summary information for every local group into a PGS website database and sends a paper certificate certifying the individual farm. Each farmer’s certificate has an individual unique identification code (UID) that includes codes for both the Local Group and the Regional Council.
- All issued certificates bear unique ID (UID) code for traceability and access to the entire information on production system, peer appraisal and decision system of the group.
- Zonal Council and PGS secretariat also under take independent surveillance and communicate results to RC through website.
- A small percentage of farms/ products are randomly selected for random pesticide residue testing each year and the results are placed on the website. Adverse results on both counts may impact the Certification status of the Local Group as a whole.
- Pesticide Residue testing is coordinated by the NCOF-the PGS secretariat but it is the Regional Council and the Local Group that has to decide what to do about a positive result. The Regional Council provides Local Groups with non-compliance guidelines, but can not apply those guidelines to an individual ONLY the Local Group can sanction the individual farmers. The Regional Council can only suspend the certification of the entire Local Group.
- In PGS although there is no system of transaction certificate and traceability is ensured only up to the farm gate (or till it is in the custody of the group), but LG and RC can device some mechanism to ensure traceability till retail point.
Verification of certification by consumers
National PGS website will be the database for the entire programme. To make the system transparent entire data base will be kept in public domain. Even the surveillance reports and residue analysis reports will also be made available on the website. Consumers or public will be able to access the summary reports of LG, details of groups, products being offered by each group and their certification status. The information in respect of farmers/ groups which have lost their certification will be available on the website for a period of at least 5 years after the loss of certification status occurred.
With access to unique ID code of particular product, consumers will be able to access the entire information on the group in respect of past history, cultivation practices and peer appraisal reports etc.
Efforts will also be made in the programme to launch SMS based internet traceability system in which, through SMS consumers will be able to know the certification status of the product in question with origin of the produce.
Grant of Logo and unique certificate ID code
On getting the certification approval from the Regional Council Local Group can print individual certificates from PGS website and can use the PGS logo on packets or containers of PGS certified products. Individual farmer certificate will have a unique ID code, identifying the RC, Local Group and the farmer. Each certificate will also list out the area, crops and products certified during the year as Annexure. Details in respect of quantity of each produce shall be available on PGS-India Website.
The validity of the certificate shall be 12 months from the date of decision of the group. On submission of subsequent summary sheet a new certificate will be granted with fresh 12 month validity from the date of last certification decision by the group as approved by the RC and so on.
Logo on the product is required to be printed with the unique ID code. Consumers can access the entire information about the group, its certification status, production practices, peer appraisals, surveillance reports etc by entering this unique ID code in PGS website.
Separate logo for PGS organic and PGS under conversion status
Two separate logos shall be granted for PGS organic and PGS under conversion as follows:
(For detailed colour specifications see inside of back cover)
Conditions for use of logo
PGS certified products can be labelled with PGS logo along with unique ID code provided on the certificate only when they are packed under the supervision of either Local Group or by the certificate holder farmer himself. In case if packing is done away from the farm at some pack house then also the group need to ensure that it is done in their supervision and all precautions are taken to prevent the product from co-mingling.
Logo is to be used only on quantity certified as per the details provided to the RC and placed on the PGS-India website.
Use of logo without unique ID code is not allowed
Separate logos need to be used for organic and in-conversion products
PGS National Standards for Organic Production
Habitat management is an important part of organic management system and forms the first step towards organic conversion. To ensure proper living conditions for all living beings, steady supply of green material for manuring and to create diversified plant stand it is essential that diversified plants/ trees etc are planted on bunds and other non-cultivated area of the farm. Adequate space may be provided for plantation of nitrogen fixing trees. Nitrogen fixing tree hedge not only act as biological fence but also ensure steady supply of biologically fixed nitrogen and other nutrients drawn from deeper layers of soil. These plants also provide home and shelter to friendly insects and birds.
If required rain water harvesting pits and farm ponds can also be created.
Diversity in crop production is second most important step of organic management which not only helps in management and control of pests and diseases but also ensure balance nutrition of the soil. Diversity can be achieved by a combination of mixed cropping, intercropping, relay cropping and rotation with legumes. Use of trap crops and barrier crops also add to the diversity.
Integration of Animals/ livestock
As successful organic farming depend upon continuous supply of dung and urine, efforts should be made to integrate crop production with livestock rearing.
The time taken for a farm to comply with the PGS organic standards is defined as the conversion period. In other words, it is the time required by the conventional farm to attain full PGS organic status. The whole farm including the crop production and animal husbandry shall be converted to organic management. Parallel or part conversion is not allowed under PGS organic management. For newly acquired fields or fields managed conventionally, the conversion period shall be not less than 24 months in case of seasonal and annual crops while it shall be not less than 36 months in case of perennial and permanent crops from the last date of use of prohibited inputs or from the date of taking the pledge, whichever is later. However, Regional Councils in some cases may allow conversion in phases, but in any case the entire farm holding of the group members must be brought under PGS organic management within 24 months of joining the group.
Duration of conversion period can be reduced to 12 months if no prohibited substances have been used since last three years and all the members in the group are fully satisfied with past history of no synthetic input use and collectively declare so.
Conversion period for animal products shall be not less than 12 months provided they are fed with fully organic feed and fodder and all the members of group are satisfied that the standard requirements have been met since last 12 months.
In case of existing ICS groups (under NPOP) or members of such groups joining PGS, their certification status, as granted by accredited certification body and valid at the time of joining PGS shall continue, provided the group/ members meets all other requirements of PGS and have necessary documents to prove their claim to the full satisfaction of other group members (if they join an existing group) or RC (if they join as independent group).
All organic production units shall have effective measures to check accidental contamination with prohibited substance through drift or water flow. All organic farms shall be either protected with biological fence (hedge/hedge rows etc) or maintain a buffer zone.
Organic farms also need to be protected from contaminated water flow from adjoining non-organic fields. This can be achieved by putting appropriate bunds and escape channels.
Soil and Water conservation
Relevant measures should be taken to prevent erosion, salination of soil, excessive and improper use of water and the pollution of ground and surface water.
Clearing of land through the means of burning organic matter, e.g. slash-and burn, straw burning shall be restricted to the minimum. The clearing of primary forest is prohibited.
Standard requirements for crop production
Selection of seed and planting material
Seeds and planting material varieties should be well adapted to the soil, climatic conditions, suitable for organic management, resistant to pests and diseases and preferably of organic origin. In case organically grown seeds are not available then, chemically untreated conventional materials shall be used.
The use of genetically engineered seeds, pollen, transgenic plants or planting material is not allowed.
On-farm biodegradable material of microbial, plant or animal origin shall form the basis of fertilization policy. Green manuring, intercropping or crop rotation with legumes shall be the integral part of cropping system planning. Off-farm/ purchased biodegradable material of microbial, plant or animal origin can also be used provided it is ensured that no prohibited substances have been used in their preparation.
Microbial preparations such as bio fertilizers, biodynamic preparations, EM solutions etc can be used.
Off-farm/industry produced inputs approved by NPOP accredited certification body as approved input for use in organic farming can be used without further approval of the group.
Mineral fertilizers shall be used in their natural powdered form as supplementary source of nutrients.
Use of synthetic fertilizers is strictly prohibited in any form, directly or indirectly.
Pest, Disease and Weed Management including Growth Regulators
Selection of pest resistant varieties, suitable rotations, green manures, balanced fertilization, early planting, mulching, cultural, mechanical and biological control measures (including use of insect pest parasites and predators), disturbance in pest life cycles and ensuring survival of pest enemies should form the basis of pest management programme.
Thermic weed control or thermic sterilization of soils can be resorted to only when it becomes absolutely necessary. Microbial pest control formulations such as bio pesticides can be used. On-farm fermentation products and botanical extracts can also be used. Off-farm purchased microbial or botanical preparations can also be used provided it is ensured that such products are approved as organic inputs under NPOP by accredited certification agencies.
Use of synthetic herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and other chemical preparations including synthetic plant growth regulators and synthetic dyes are strictly prohibited. Use of genetically engineered organisms or products are also prohibited.
Equipment/ implements and storage containers
All farming equipment, implements and tools etc must be washed and cleaned before use on the organic farm.
Bags and containers used to harvest, store and transport organic produce must be clean and free from any chemical contamination and should not have been used for storage of conventional produce. All such containers and bags shall be clearly labelled “Organic Only.
Storage and Transport
Organic Products must be protected at all times from co-mingling with non-organic products. Use of synthetic or chemical storage pesticides/ fumigants are prohibited. Natural and traditional ways and means for storing organic produce are allowed. Use of carbon-di-oxide, nitrogen or any other such inert gas is permissible.
Standard requirement for animal production
The whole farm, including livestock, should be converted to organic within the specified conversion period. Part conversion or parallel production is not allowed under PGS after 24 months. The minimum conversion period for all animals except poultry shall be not less than 12 months. The poultry birds for egg production or for meat purpose shall be fed only on organic diet from 2 day onwards after hatching.
The management of animal environment shall ensure free movement, sufficient access to fresh air, day light, water, lying and resting place and protection against excessive sunlight, rain and wind etc.
Mutilations in any form should not be resorted except for castrations, tail docking, dehorning, ringing and mule sing.
Breeds and Breeding
Breeds should be chosen which are adapted to local conditions. Breeding goals should not be at variance with the animal’s natural behaviour and should be directed towards good health. Reproduction techniques should be natural. Artificial insemination is allowed.
Hormonal heat treatment and induced births are not allowed, unless applied for medical reasons under veterinary advice.
Genetically engineered species or breeds are not allowed.
The livestock should be fed 100% organically grown feed of good quality. All feed shall come from the farm itself or be produced on the farms of other group members or have been harvested from wild where no prohibited substances have been used. Products from the organic feed processing industry shall be used. Colouring agents shall not be used in organic livestock production.
The following products shall not be included nor added to the feed given to farm animals:
- Synthetic growth promoters or stimulants
- Synthetic appetisers
- Preservatives, except when used as a processing aid
- Artificial colouring agents
- Farm animal by-products (e.g. abattoir waste) to ruminants
- Droppings, dung or other manure (all types of excreata) even if technologically processed
- Feed subjected to solvent (e.g. hexane), extraction (soya and rape seed meal)
- Feed prepared with the addition of other chemical agents
- Pure amino acids
- Genetically engineered organisms or products thereof
- Vitamins, trace elements and supplements shall be used from natural origin when available in appropriate quantity and
The well-being of the animals is the primary consideration in the choice of illness treatment. Natural medicines and methods, including homeopathy, ayurvedic, unani medicine and acupuncture, shall be emphasised. The use of conventional veterinary medicines is allowed when no other justifiable alternative is available.
Where conventional veterinary medicines are used, the withholding period shall be at least double the legal period.
Use of the following substances is prohibited:
- Synthetic growth promoters
- Substances of synthetic origin for production, stimulation or suppression of natural growth
- Hormones for heat induction and heat synchronisation unless used for an individual animal against reproductive disorders, justified by veterinary indications
Vaccinations shall be used only when diseases are known or expected to be a problem in the region. Legally required vaccinations are allowed. Genetically engineered vaccines are prohibited.
Requirement for Bee Keeping
As bee keeping is considered a part of animal husbandry, general principals of animal husbandry shall also apply on bee keeping. In addition following requirements shall also be met:
- Bee hives shall be made of natural materials free from
- Bee hives shall be placed in organically managed farms and/ or wild natural areas, away from the fields or areas where prohibited substances have been used.
- Veterinary medicines/ antibiotics shall not be used in bee keeping and no repellents consisting of prohibited substances be used when working with the bees.
- For pest and disease control and for hive disinfection use of caustic soda, lactic, oxalic, acetic, formic acids, sulphur, etheric oils and Bacillus thuringensis are
Standard Requirements for Food processing, Handling and Storage
Any food processing, handling and storage of organic products, on-farm and/or off-farm or under hired facilities away from the farm can be certified under PGS, provided the entire operation is carried out under the supervision of PGS Group and the items/ materials to be processed are the direct produce of the PGS group. If required many PGS groups can make their federation and get their federation registered with RC for collective processing, handling and storage. Necessary guidelines for making federation and handling of products from different groups will be laid down by the concerned RC.
Organic products shall not be stored and transported together with inorganic products unless they are properly packed and labelled and physically separated from each other with no chances of contamination or co-mingling.
Control measures should ensure that organic products do not come in contact with the in-organic products and prohibited substances during storage, transportation and processing.
No synthetic preservatives, chemicals, fumigants etc or storage aid shall be used. Use of controlled temperature, cooling, freezing, drying, humidity control through mechanical means and fumigation with nitrogen or carbon- di-oxide gas is permitted. Ethylene gas is permitted for ripening.
Ingredients, additives and processing aids
- All ingredients and additives of agriculture origin shall be PGS- organic.
- Water and salt may be used without any restriction.
- For the production of fermentation / microbiological products the medium shall be composed of organic ingredients.
- Commercial microbial formulations for use as inoculants in such processes can be used.
- In cases where ingredients of organic agriculture origin are not available or some ingredients of non-agriculture origin are to be used then the guidelines provided under NPOP be followed and the quantity of such non-agriculture additives should not exceed 5% of total dry weight (excluding water and salt) of the raw material.
- Use of genetically modified organisms or their products are prohibited
- Minerals, vitamins and similar other ingredients of chemical origin shall not be used.
- All processing equipment and machinery should be properly washed and made contamination free before using for organic processing.
- All processing equipment and filtration aids shall be free from contamination and shall not release any substance that may negatively affect the organic integrity
- Measures should be in place to prevent co-mingling and contamination of organic produce with non-organic.
- Services of NPOP certified processing units can be availed.
- Processes approved under PGS organic are: mechanical and physical, biological, smoking, extraction, precipitation and Extraction shall be done with water, ethanol, plant and animal oils, vinegar, carbon-di-oxide, nitrogen or carboxylic acids. All such solvents/ extraction liquid shall be of food grade.
- Irradiation is not allowed
Packing and Labelling
- Packing material should not affect the organoleptic character of the product
- The description of the PGS group with PGS logo and unique ID code shall be clearly printed.
- Single ingredient products may be labelled as “PGS-Organic” when all standard requirements have been met and the produce has been declared PGS-organic.
- PGS In-conversion products may be labelled as “PGS-Green” when all standard requirements for declaring the Local PGS group under PGS In-conversion have been met and the produce has been declared as PGS-Green.
- In case of mixed/ processed products if minimum of 95% ingredients is PGS-organic the product may be labelled as PGS-Organic. If proportions of organic ingredients are between 95 and 70% the products can be labelled as “Made with PGS-organic ingredients”, but in such cases PGS logo cannot be used.
- Only PGS Local groups and their duly authorized federations are allowed to use PGS Logo on the products, produced, processed and packed under their supervision.