Philippine mountain producers engage in national Participatory Guarantee System


Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) are gaining recognition and empowering small-scale organic farmers and fisherfolk in the Philippines, including Mountain Partnership Products (MPP) producers.

According to IFOAM - Organics International – a member of the Mountain Partnership and the only organization worldwide collecting, compiling and publishing global data about PGS initiatives – PGS are defined as “locally focused quality assurance systems. They certify producers based on active participation of stakeholders and are built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange.”

The MPP initiative utilizes PGS to effectively manage its complex network of smallholder producers around the world, while promoting the specificity of each individual product. The first international network of PGS initiatives specifically designed for smallholder farmers in mountain regions was established in April 2019, when MPP representatives signed the Ranikhet Declaration for a Global PGS Network.

Now, PGS is gaining national recognition in many parts of the world, including in the Philippines, where the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards announced in June 2020 that PGS would be an option for small-scale farmers and fisherfolk to get organic certification (read more).

One year later, the process to train producers on PGS has started. Two MPP producers – Lam-en Gonnay, representative of Ulikan red rice producers, and Ms Elma Serna, representative of Itogon Arabica coffee producers – participated in an online training on PGS on 6 July led by PGS Pilipinas, the widest network of PGS practitioners and groups in the country. The programme aimed to promote producers’ engagement with PGS and organic agriculture in the Philippines, providing an orientation on regulations, public support opportunities, PGS governance pathways and implementation.

Following the training, PGS Pilipinas recommended creating a database of organic farmers who are interested in joining the PGS group and sharing the results of the training within the group. PGS Pilipinas will also strategize on how to move forward with the next training given current travel restrictions. Meanwhile, the Itogon Arabica coffee growers plan to seek municipal support to participate in the national PGS for organic agriculture, and the Ulikan red rice community is planning to allocate budget toward PGS implementation next year to train PGS facilitators within the farmer groups.

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Photo: Pasil Slow Food Community/Facebook

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