Mountain producers explore synergies between organic certification systems


Thirteen producers involved in the Mountain Partnership Products (MPP) initiative explored opportunities to increase synergies between Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) and Internal Control Systems (ICS) in organic agriculture during a webinar on 24 January 2022.

Organized by the Mountain Partnership Secretariat in collaboration with IFOAM - Organics International, the webinar provided information on different organic certification systems and shared case studies and recommendations to the MPP initiative partners. Flavia Castro e Mura of IFOAM - Organics International led the presentation.

Representing seven organizations from India, Kyrgyzstan and Nepal, the participants discussed the importance of PGS' recognition beyond the local level for supporting exports. They also shared ideas on opportunities for South-South cooperation and exchanges at regional commercial fairs.

Kalyan Paul of the Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation in India said, "There is an urgent need to demonstrate the value of smallholder mountain producers and how they contribute to ecosystems, as well as to monetize their positive impact. Additionally, it is crucial to invest in consumer awareness regarding the critical need to switch to more sustainable foods."

The MPP initiative supports smallholder farmers in mountains to create enterprises, enhance their marketing skills and boost their livelihoods by improving the value chains of mountain products such as organic food, textiles and tourism services. It promotes short value chains and ensures transparency and trust between producers and consumers as well as fair compensation for the farmers, conservation of agrobiodiversity and ancient techniques.

The initiative has developed a participatory certification and labelling scheme for small mountain producers from developing countries. It is currently operational in the Plurinational State of Bolivia, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Panama, Peru and the Philippines.

In April 2019, with the launch of the Ranikhet Declaration for a Global Mountain PGS Network, the MPP initiative created the first-ever international network of mountain-specific PGS to certify mountain farming systems as ethical, fair and organic.

The soon-to-be-launched grant programme "Business Incubator and Accelerator for Mountain and Islands" will provide future opportunities for mountain producers to work on their PGS and improve their recognition locally and globally.

Photo: ©Sitaram Magar

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