What is PGS?
PGS stands for Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) and is a locally focused quality assurance system. It certifies producers based on the active participation of stakeholders and is built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange (IFOAM). It represents an alternative to third party certification for small-scale farmers.
In Vietnam, PGS was introduced to producers, traders and consumers and also worked to attract some interested researchers and NGOs. These stakeholders then adopted PGS as a guarantee system for their organic products in October 2008. PGS has been developed over five provinces in Vietnam, including Ben Tre Province.
PGS practices in Ben Tre
PGS was first introduced to Ben Tre farmers in 2014 within the framework of the project, “Improving the livelihood of small-scale farmers by establishing producer groups and applying organic farming.” The project run by Seed to Table in cooperation with the Ben Tre Agricultural Extension Centre and has been expanded over the two districts of Binh Dai and Ba Tri.
Three organic producer groups of 14 farmers were established. The farmers were provided training classes on the basics of organic farming and the standards of PGS as well as being introduced to inspection procedures. They then operated their farms and production facilities organically following PGS standards. The complex of producer groups is called inter-group. Inter-group plans inspection activities to provide and maintain certification of farmers.