Participatory Guarantee Systems Organic Council helds its Management Committee meeting on the 4th of July 2015 followed by its Annual General Body meeting on the 5th of July at Indian Social Institute in Bangalore. Quorum was established and leave of absence from Pan Himalayan Grass Roots and ICRA were accepted to start the proceedings. The meeting was attended by members of 12 organization who are part of the Facilitation Council. Ashish Gupta stepped down as Secretary and P. B. Murali replaced him as Secretary and representative of Organic Farmers Association of India (OFAI). Mathew John stepped down as Treasurer and was replaced by T. Samraj who also represented Keystone Foundation. The important decision taken in the meeting is to working with National Centre for Organic Farming (NCOF) which is running the PGS program promoted by Ministry of Agriculture without compromising the soverignity of PGS Organic Council run by Civil Society Organizations. The two day meeting was concluded with a decision to have the next Management Committee meeting in Bubhaneshwar, Odisha.
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.