Participatory guarantee system for organic and ecological agriculture: Experiences from Africa

The second day of the third West Africa Conference on ecological and organic agriculture started with the session on Participatory Guarantee Systems.

Indeed, all apart the world, there are many methods of organic quality assurance for the marketplace among which the Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS). Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) certify producers based on active participation of stakeholders and are built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange.

During this session, Musa.K.MUWANGA Chief executive officer for NOGAMU shared experiences from Uganda in how to organize smallholder farmers in Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS). He has shown that PGS gain attention in Ouganda but is also faced by many challenges.

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Lazare YOMBI presented the case study of participatory guarantee systems (PGS) in West Africa and especially in Benin. For him, PGS is a tool for development of local market in Africa. In the same way, he considered certification as a productivity factor. PGS is also an answer to the ethics requirements for organic certification and allow reducing costs for certification for many producers. To conclude his communication, Lazare YOMBI said there are two main actors in PGS: direct (productor) and indirect actor (incoming provider, state services). He thinks that that success of PGS depends on the engagement of different actors in Benin and the need to reduce challenges faces by organic agriculture and to create a network.

The final communication was done by Dr. Allison LOCONTO (INRA/FAO) and was about the importance of institutional innovations on PGS. She said that PGS is a novel ways of organizing public and private actors, organizations, institutions (including rules/regulations). After it, she presented six cases studies on innovations around the world. (Bolivia, Colombia, India, Philippines, Namibia, Uganda). We can retain after this presentation that PGS facilitates collective marketing by putting “culture” back into agriculture. Moreover, some lessons need to be take account. Continuous capacity building is fundamental as well as cost reduction in order to motive for developing PGS. Finally smallholder inclusion in the value chain is crucial.

This panel of discussion is composed of eminent personality on organic agriculture. Moreover key international institutions on organic agriculture as FAO, IFOM, Helvetas were represented. PGS is recognized and promoted as the alternative and scientific method of organic farm certification.

Article écrit par Christel Kénou, journaliste citoyen pour la conférence WACOAg


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