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Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) for Sustainable Local Food Systems

The global market of organic products increased fivefold between 1999 and 2014, Organic Monitor projects growth to continue. This trend is also true for the Asian region where the third largest market for organic products in the world and forty percent of the world’s organic producers are located (a total of 0.9 million producers, mostly concentrated in India). Consumers in the region are increasingly demanding organic products to ensure food safety. This trend represents an opportunity for smallholder farmers practicing organic production to increase their sales and improve their livelihoods.

Yet, this opportunity is not readily available to smallholder farmers in the region. One reason behind this is the high cost of third-party certification, meaning that farmers practicing organic farming are unable to differentiate their products and have access to markets. At the same time, consumers also face difficulties in finding and trusting labelled organic or safe food products in the market. The FAO pilot project on “Small-Scale Farmer Inclusion in Organic Agriculture Development through Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS)” initiated in September 2015 and will end in December 2017.

This pilot was implemented by FAO together with the Ministry of Agriculture in Lao PDR and Cambodia, international partners such as IFOAM-international organics, Asian Development Bank (ADB), Earth Net Foundation (ENF) and many other local partners. The pilot started in response to the increasing demand of organic products from consumers in the region to ensure food safety and countries request of technical assistance for the establishment and promotion of Participatory Guarantee