Labelling mountain products for an ethical, fair and organic future


Thirteen representatives of the Mountain Partnership Products (MPP) initiative from eight countries met in Ranikhet, India to discuss the future of promoting sustainable farming practices of smallholder farmers in mountain regions.

The workshop’s main outcome was the Ranikhet Declaration for a Global Mountain Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) Network, a commitment towards key principles such as adopting environmentally and ethically sound value chains; sustaining healthy, safe and organic production systems; conserving indigenous agrobiodiversity; and empowering mountain producers.

Together, the representatives agreed to establish the first-ever international network of PGS initiatives specifically designed for smallholder farmers in mountain regions. PGSs are generally defined as low-cost certification schemes for organic products, suitable for smallholder farmers and for local/national markets. More specifically, they are locally focused quality assurance systems - alternative or complementary to third-party certification schemes - that certify producers based on active participation of farmers, consumers and other relevant stakeholders.  

The producer organizations who adopt the Ranikhet Declaration will design and establish their own Mountain PGS with the technical assistance of the Mountain Partnership Secretariat. Some organizations in Asia, such as ADRA Mongolia, which partners with over 900 small-scale farmers organized in 30 cooperatives in the Selenge Province, already conducted in May its first orientation training with technical support from Mountain Partnership member, the Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation (PHGDF). In Latin America, REDAR Peru will organize in October the first training of trainers to assist 100 farmers in Ancash to establish a Mountain PGS and become fully organic.

Workshop participants were eager to be part of this revolutionary network. Munk Jargal from ADRA Mongolia wrote to the MPS, “The Ranikhet Declaration is certainly a milestone. Congratulations to everyone for all the hard work and determination to create a platform for sharing and supporting each other.”

Umesh Lama from Nepal’s Organic World and Fair Future (OWF) says: “You left no stone unturned, thank you for the hard work of coordinating, incorporating and fine-tuning this document including preparation of work plan, the final version of declaration looks really powerful and inspiring.” OWF and the Nepali Federation of Community Forestry Users (FECOFUN) are collaborating to provide PGS trainings to nearly 3 500 households throughout Nepal.

The Ranikhet declaration was presented in New York during the High-Level Political Forum on 16 July 2019 and next steps are already in place to maintain the workshop and declaration’s momentum. Regional trainings in Latin America and Central Asia will begin in October 2019.

Read the full text here

Photo from FAO/Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation

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