Membership

Eligibility for Membership

The PGSOIC National Council at its meeting on 03 August, 2009, at Timbaktu, Andhra Pradesh, confirmed the decision taken on 01June, 2009, in Bangalore, Karnataka. It has been decided that only Voluntary Organizations and entirely non-Government managed NGOs committed to promoting fully organic agriculture by their member-farmers would be eligible to become PGS-OFCs. It was decided that all PGS-OFCs need not be represented on the PGSOIC National Council. It was also settled that only farmers committed to being fully organic in all their farm practices and at all their farms would be eligible to be members of PGS “Local Groups”. The “Farmer’s Pledge” would remain without change, the “Peer Farm Appraisal” format can be modified where needed.

Initial Implementation

The implementation of the PGS scheme begins with the formation of the first PGS “Local Group” after peer appraisals of farms and signing of the “Farmer’s Pledge” for compliance with the “Basic Standards” of Organic Agriculture [OA] explained in detail by the facilitating agency. The “Farm Appraisal Summaries” of each “Local Group” were lodged with the Central Secretariat of PGSOIC [with OFAI-CS handling the documentation and IIRD issuing the certificate] to use the PGSOIC logo on the produce. A compilation of the information provided by the PGS Organic Facilitation Councils.

Local Groups

The Local Group [LG] is the anchor of the PGSOIC. Each LG consists of FIVE or more Organic Farmers who participate in helping each other to become, and remain, totally compliant with the 15 point Basic Organic Standards stipulated in the OLS-PGS booklet. Individual farmers, SHGs, NGOs and other organizations can volunteer to become a LG. The guarantee that the product is organic is subject to group participation in maintaining the trust behind the logo.

A LG must have its own name, address, phone number and leader. When approved, it will be allotted a ‘Code’ for identification of the State, body to which it is affiliated and the group. The use of PGS label by the groups has to be approved by the PGS Organic India Council after receipt of the Farm Appraisal summaries [copy] from the Local Group Convener through the respective PGS-Organic Facilitation Council.

The Basic Standards and Guidelines are being prepared for wild collection like honey, yams, wood apples, etc under PGS-Natural.

Documentation

The Organic Farming Association of India [OFAI] handles the documentation for the PGSOIC Central Secretariat. It has taken the initiative to prepare a booklet in English giving a brief idea of PGS, the Basic Standards, the Farm Appraisal Form and the Farmer’s Pledge. The booklet has since been translated into Malayalam [INFACT-Kerala], Telugu [DDS-Andhra Pradesh], Hindi [Kisan Vikas Kendra-Uttar Pradesh], Marathi [MOFF-Maharashtra], Kannada [ICRA-Karnataka] and Tamil [TOFM- Tamil Nadu] and printed by these organizations. Translations are also ready in Oriya, Punjabi and Nepali. Thus, the farmer is able to learn about PGS requirements and benefits in his or her own language. The information on the number of LGs, membership of each LG, land holding size and crops grown is maintained by OFAI on behalf of the Central Secretariat of PGSOIC.

PGS certificates are issued to the Conveners of the Local Groups by the President of PGSOIC from IIRD-Aurangabad. The PGSOFCs issue certificates to the Local Groups in the local language and the Convener of the LG issues certificates to the LG member farmers.