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FLR349 and the PGS certification
09 May 2022
What is PGS certification system?
Created by IFOAM - Organics International, Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) is a certification system used to ensure the quality of organic products. This system is based on the active participation of group, which can be made up of farmers, consumers, rural advisors, and local authorities. Under the system, they all work together to make decisions, to visit farms, to support each other and to check that farmers are producing according to an organic standard. Consumers can better understand value and demand organic products, while farmers are in a better position to meet this increasing demand and gain a stronger position in the market, helping them improve livelihoods.
As a first-party certification system, PGS can be managed by the farmer groups themselves. This makes PGS much more cost effective, less restrictive, and simpler to manage than third-party certification systems, which rely on independent bodies for certification. PGS is also a more open system, thus allowing producers to learn and participate in the guarantee system.
FLR349 and PGS.
PGS helps make the organic market accessible for small scale farmers at lower costs, while at the same time also enabling consumers to access local food/organic products at reasonable prices. Because of these benefits, the SCP project, through the FLR349 initiative,* has been working with local administrative organisations, community enterprises, and local cooperative to help smallholder farmers achieve the certification since 2019.
Moreover, the majority of project sites are located in sloped watershed areas without clear land title deeds from the government (land being passed down through inheritance). As PGS can be used to certify these areas unlike other systems, it is also more suitable for the project.
As of 2021, 344 hectares around the watersheds of northern Thailand have been certified organic through the use of PGS, helping 1,210 farmers gain clearer markets for their products, which can be sold for a higher price. The introduction of the PGS saw a surge in employment and economic growth within the community.
Reads more about the project use of pgs here