Dear PGS stakeholders
We are pleased to announce the OWC pre-conference “Building Food Communities” is confirmed for 11 October 2014. Please note that we moved the date one day forward to avoid collision with many other relevant pre-conferences planned for 12 October. The pre-conference Building Food Communities is co-organized by Bugday, URGENCI and IFOAM and will deal with short supply chains/regional food focussing on PGS and CSA.
Please find the draft program following this link: https://foodcommunities.wordpress.com/ (note the date is 11 October!) The program and speakers are not final yet. If you are planning to attend and interested in/available to participate either as presenter or as part of a discussion, please let me know so we can consider your inclusion in program.
More information about the event in the next issue of the PGS Newsletter.
PGS And the Small-Holders Market – Presented at the Asia Pacific Symposium 2nd to 4th December 2013
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) held a symposium in Bangkok between 2nd and 4th of December. Earlier in September 2013, papers were invited for presentation at the symposium. Ashish Gupta, had researched and submitted a paper on PGS and the Smallholders Market as a case study on how PGS is structured in India and the operational case of the PGS Organic Council.
The paper entails the working of the PGS OC as a conglomeration of NGO/VOs to implement grass-root community based certification systems as well as assist with marketing in a fair and just manner to various farmer groups across India. It was shown how PGSOC has seen a manifold increase in land hectarage, farmer groups and overall sales of produce. It also discussed the challenges to the economics of scale and various mitigation techniques in implementation of PGS in the future.
The paper was very well received and presentation was made in person by Ashish Gupta. Overall the acceptance of PGS was delivered strongly to all present and it resulted in the Assistant Director-General of FAO commenting in the closing speech –
“On marketing and certification I understand that there is great interest in the promotion and capacity building in the field of Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) because these hold the promise of low cost certification for groups of small farmers.”
In addition, there was also interest generated in a number of international organizations in the way PGS was implemented in India. All this has resulted in greater exposure of PGSOC and also validated the process model of PGSOC to implement PGS at the grass-root level strongly in the future.
The BioFach Japan 2013 opened with a grand ceremony, short speeches from the dignitaries and the traditional ribbon cutting. The EU delegate to Japan, the German ambassador, the Vice Minister of Agriculture from the Philippines and the Deputy Director General of Food Safety from the Japanese Agriculture Ministry, Chieko Watanabe san from Avanti Inc and Mathew John, IFOAM World board were present at the opening ceremony.
The ceremony was followed by press conferences where Mathew could talk on IFOAM and its principles. At a seminar, Mathew spoke on the importance of indigenous knowledge in Organic Agriculture, which was well received by the audience. Later, a meeting with members of IFOAM, Japan raised issues like: present issues of concern and communication with members.
The response to the stall and booths were phenomenal too, consumers continuously walked into the booths and the fair. A small interview with a journalist from The Mainichi Newspapers (Miko Myochin) – interesting questions from her – hopefully, an article in this quite well known newspaper of Japan and also good publicity for IFOAM and BioFach.