Jagjit Plahe is an Associate Professor at Department of Management, Monash University. Detailed profile can be found at here.
Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
February 07, 2024
Organising for change through Participatory Guarantee Systems: A Focus on Small Producers in India.
Over the past 30 years, organic agricultural value chains have shifted from disparate local networks to highly regulated global trading systems which require compliance with organic production and processing standards, often set by importing countries. Third-party certification (TPC) is a key component of gaining compliance with these standards. However due to its high level of standardisation, TPC is viewed as a system which does not account for cultural,socio-economic and environmental diversity in agri-food systems. Importantly,given that most TPC institutions are based in the Global North, politically,TPC is viewed as an imposition on the Global South. Given the limitations ofTPC, many small farmers especially those in the Global South are turning to alternative certification systems known as Participatory Guarantee Systems(PGS) which give them more agency in the certification process. Using interview data from India, we conduct a qualitative analysis of the experience of 66 FarmerProducer Organisations federated under the Sahaja Aharam Producer Organisation(SAPCO). We analyse how the FPOs have operationalised PGS principles and the factors that have enabled them to organise for change. We also explore factors which impede their efforts in creating a fairer and more participatory certification system. Importantly we analyse how the strategic needs of PGS are conditioned by the national and state level organic regulatory framework in India.
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