Pacific Organic & Ethical Trade Community

Step by Step Guide to the PGS System

What is a PGS System? 

Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) are locally focused organic assurance systems. They certify producers based on active participation of stakeholders and are built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange.

Why PGS? 

In most situations PGSs are born when a group of people come together who can see the benefit of having an organic guarantee. The guarantee provides recognition in local markets, is not constrained by the compliance requirements and costs of third party certification which is usually geared to anonymous
markets and often long supply chains. Other motivating factors include a desire to

  • Reduce bureaucracy in the organic guarantee process.
  • Promote equity and fairness through the production chain.
  • Engender community values and support the potential for community development through organic agriculture.

The group structure can provide a framework through which group marketing and various community building activities can be facilitated. Most individual producers join a PGS because they want to sell their organic products locally (usually a farmers market or a retail outlet) and they need a label. A PGS can provide an affordable way of getting such a label. The benefits of belonging to a group may also be important particularly once the PGS has been in operation for a period of time and the full benefits can be appreciated. Thus, NGOs might be inspired by the opportunity to support the development of a PGS through which community development objectives can be achieved, whereas, most farmers will see the opportunity to access markets and secure better returns as the initial motivating factor.

Relevant PGS documents are below:

Steps in the Development of PGS in the Pacific

PGS Toolkit

Organic Training Manual

PGS Templates


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