Or­ga­nic far­ming: PGS laun­ched

George Herald - - News -

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 sasha@ni­cheu­ni­ty.com or call 074 100 8827.

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