These days, we have an idolization about an impossible combo which is a clean product with verified origin and reasonable price. It’s easy to buy products advertised as clean and cheap, but what guarantees this when we don’t have a clue about manufacture process? Or, we can buy certificated and verified products at the expense of cost?
This expectation of consumers about a “good meal” put pressure on agriculture businesses, especially medium and small ones. How to manage the entire process effectively and transparently with minimum budget? To solve the problem, PGS – Participatory Guarantee System is introduced. And you will play an important part in this quality assurance system.
IFOAM (The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) defines PGS as the quality assurance system which focuses on local areas certifying manufacturers in terms of relevant parties’ affirmative participation, and is built on basis of trust, social connection and knowledge sharing.
Characteristics of PGS:
Participation: PGS’ power depends on stakeholders’ engagement, the more people join in, the stronger it becomes. Stakeholders include: manufacturers, consumers, traders, retailers, local agencies and NGOs. They will take part in the whole procedure.
A shared vision: This is about commitment of production targets and mode of operation of PGS. It meets specific requirements and purposes, namely, organic products, clean products, safe products, and compliance with legal, society, local factors.
Transparency: It is done by storing and sharing information; enhancing equality in PGS.
Trust: It is gained through working on development direction and make operational rules for PGS.
Learning: It is achieved by exchanging goals and experience to consolidate the shared vision.
Many questions have been asked whether a quality assurance system mainly based on cross-validation is reliable.
To answer this, there are no perfect quality assurance or certification systems. The first reason is that it is impracticable to analyze all products produced in every circumstances. Moreover, it’s not guaranteed that sample doesn’t contain any residue even after carrying out micro-analysis of residual chemical content because there is always an error.
On the basis of mutual support and understanding, PGS solves “Trust question” by considering 2 main reasons of non-compliance with regulations in producing process:
Therefore, with an aim of making smallholders obey the law, these need to be done:
Not only involved parties but also purchasers involve in quality assurance process, therefore, we can completely trust PGS.
Is it great that in case of a product safety problem, you can complain and manufacturer can trace back any errors in the product chain from tillage, sowing to your dining table. But one question must be asked that when buying goods, are their origins your priority or just the price? Only when consumers truly concern about the traceability will the manufacturers improve quality. Then the quality of life will be better, sustainable development will be enhanced, you and others do not need to worry about it anymore.
Follow EFD project to keep abreast of PGS as well as how to apply it!