The PGS is an internationally applicable organic quality assurance system [like ISO 9000] implemented and controlled by the committed organic farmer-producers through active participation, along with the consumers, in the process based on verifiable trust. It is not an “inspection raj” certification system but, rather, one that is based on personal integrity and peer pressure. Integrity is honesty when no one is looking over your shoulder to see what you are doing. The farmer pledges that the production process is free from manufactured chemicals [fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, hormones, etc] and lives by his word of honour. The “Local Group” of five or more organic farmers is the fulcrum of the self-regulatory support system of PGS. The quality assurance standards are harmonized by the PGS Organic Council, which permits the use of its PGS label on a product as a mark of quality.
The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements or IFOAM defines PGS thus: “Participatory Guarantee Systems are locally focused quality assurance systems. They certify producers based on active participation of stakeholders and are built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange.”
The PGS Organic India Council was set up after a consultation process in 2006. It functioned as an informal coalition of Voluntary Organizations or NGOs committed to the promotion of organic food production for domestic consumption in India, with export not being a priority at all. In April 2011, it was formally registered as a society in Goa as Participatory Guarantee Systems Organic Council (PGSOC).