Organic farming: PGS launched
Farmers and consumers from the Outeniqua region participated in the launch of the Outeniqua Natural and Organic Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) on Sunday 21 October.
The PGS is a locally focused assurance system that enables market access for smallholder organic farmers. Producers who participate in the system open their doors to farm visits, during which peer farmers and consumers come to see firsthand the farmer’s production process and verify that organic production standards are adhered to.
The Outeniqua PGS has adopted the South African Organic Sector Organisation’s (SAOSO) standard for organic production and processing, approved for inclusion in the IFOAM family of standards.
Designed to support farmers in producing organic products and being recognised as organic farmers, the PGS rests on solid documented management systems and procedures. Approved farmers will be provided with a certificate endorsing their natural or organic status for explicitly identified crops or animal produce. The PGS also sets clear, defined consequences for non-compliance.
To become part of the Outeniqua PGS, farmers are expected to sign a pledge stating their commitment to adhere to organic production principles, pay a membership fee, attend PGS meetings and take part in at least two farm visits per annum. Any farmer growing organically along the Outeniqua mountain range is welcome to be part of the group. The quarterly PGS meetings will offer the opportunity to share knowledge, listen to expert talks and demonstrations on organic farming practices and to share seeds.
Consumers are encouraged to actively take part in PGS activities as a means to support their local food systems, to get to know the growers farming in their area and to take part in the farm visits. At least one consumer must be part of the visiting committee during farm visits; these are aimed to not only guarantee organic production but to get consumers closer to their food basis. For any additional information contact Sasha on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 074 100 8827.