BAGUIO CITY – Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) is a new form of accreditation the Department of Agriculture (DA) is currently pressing for the farmers. PGS is a quality assurance initiative that follows the ‘table to consumer’ approach in providing a guarantee on the integrity and quality of products.
PGS is locally relevant and adaptable where its distribution prioritizes ‘local food availability for local people.’ Its distribution, however, is not limited to local markets and short supply chains. It puts a strong emphasis on participation and empowerment of all key stakeholders particularly the farmers to deal with organic systems from production, marketing, and guarantee system. Through this arrangement, the PGS relies on building a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange among its stakeholders to ensure its proper functioning.
PGS is a part of the organic guarantee system that is widely used and accepted as a quality assurance system in the organic agriculture sector wherein farmers provide direct assurance to consumers regarding the integrity of the product. The objective is to provide a credible guarantee for consumers.
PGS’s key elements and principles are the availability of established standards and norms, a mechanism to review producer compliance, defined consequences for non-compliance, pledge, documented management systems and procedures, and use of seals and labels. These are aimed at empowering farmers to deal with organic systems from production, marketing, guarantee, and others.
According to Oliver Baleng, DA Organic Agriculture Program technical staff, “The next action after PGS approval is the creation of a federation of organic groups in the region for a better and more systematized organization from production to market.”
He also said that compared with organic certification, the PGS will guarantee the individual or group that their produce is organic and of quality. The procedure for PGS is also more beneficial to the farmers as its requirements are less tedious.”
The PGS is expected to be approved by June of this year and will be implemented by 2018.
By Jenny M. Dayao