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Participatory Guarantee Scheme (PGS)

Topics Covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Participatory Guarantee Scheme (PGS)

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the scheme.

For Mains: Significance of the scheme, the need for certifying organic products.

 

Context: The head of India’s food safety regulator has said that she expects the Union Agriculture Ministry’s Participatory Guarantee Scheme (PGS) to incentivise more farmers to grow organic food.

 

Participatory Guarantee Scheme (PGS):

  • Union Agriculture Ministry’s PGS is a process of certifying organic products, which ensures that their production takes place in accordance with laid-down quality standards.
  • The certification is in the form of a documented logo or a statement.
  • According to the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), the Bonn-based global umbrella organisation for the organic agriculture movement, PGSs are “locally focused quality assurance systems” that “certify producers based on active participation of stakeholders and are built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange”.

 

Advantages of PGS:

  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. As practising organic farmers themselves, they understand the processes well.
  3. Because peer appraisers live in the same village, they have better access to surveillance; peer appraisal instead of third-party inspections also reduces costs
  4. Mutual recognition and support between regional PGS groups ensures better networking for processing and marketing.
  5. Unlike the grower group certification system, PGS offers every farmer individual certificates, and the farmer is free to market his own produce independent of the group.

 

However, the operational manual also identifies some limitations of PGS:

  • PGS certification is only for farmers or communities that can organise and perform as a group within a village or a cluster of continguous villages, and is applicable only to farm activities such as crop production, processing, and livestock rearing, and off-farm processing “by PGS farmers of their direct products”.
  • Individual farmers or group of farmers smaller than five members are not covered under PGS. They either have to opt for third party certification or join the existing PGS local group.

 

Sources: Indian Express.