What is PGS?

PGS is a process of certifying organic products by ensuring that their production takes place in accordance with specific quality standards. In South Africa, local PGS groups certify to the South African Organic Sector Organisation (SAOSO) standard.

The journey begins when a community of organic farmers have a surplus to sell and form a PGS in order to actively participate in the process of certifying each other’s farms. The group is built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange.

PGS is a second-party organic assurance mechanism that serves as an alternative and complementary quality assurance system to third-party certification. Many PGS’s exist all over the world and some have been going for over 40 years. The worldwide umbrella organisation for the organic agriculture movement, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) supports the PGS sector and advocates for the recognition of PGS by governments.

PGS is:

Accessible and affordable for smallholder farmers.

Inclusive for consumers, retailers, distributors and processors who can all play a role in the process.

Designed as a short supply chain for nurturing local, organic produce into the market.

Fair and grounded in integrity, enabling farmers to get fair prices for their produce and for consumers to get food they can trust.

Our work is linked to the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals and the Seventh Generation Principle.

The Seventh Generation Principle is an Indigenous Knowledge concept that encourages us to think seven generations ahead – about 140 years into the future – and to decide whether our decisions today will benefit those children seven generations from now into our future.

PGS logos to look out for:

Look for the following logos when buying your organic food to get assurance that they are grown with organic and agroecological principles and practices.

Why choose PGS as a farmer?

PGS is a market access enabler for smallholder farmers who are committed to the principles of agroecology and organic farming methods. It is low-cost and focused on community strength and knowledge building. Farmers are engaged in an ongoing learning process which helps improve their farming practices. PGS unifies smallholder farmers, fostering food and seed sovereignty, the protection of indigenous knowledge, and building partnerships with existing agricultural structures.

Why choose PGS as a consumer or retailer?

Consumers and retailers have the opportunity of being actively involved in PGS farm visit assessments enabling them to meet their farmers and experience the land where their food is grown. This affords the end-user the opportunity of understanding the real issues in the food supply chain and the importance of healthy, nutritious food grown in a responsible manner, and its connection to environmental and human health. Participating consumers and retailers are needed to maintain a robust and transparent short food supply chain that supports its local smallholder farmers. Consumers and retailers are members in many PGS groups, not only buying products but also engaged in decision making and management.

See FAQ about PGS here.

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