PGS is a process of certifying organic products by ensuring that their production takes place in accordance with specific organic standards. In South Africa, local PGS groups certify according to the South African Organic Sector Organisation (SAOSO) standard.
The journey begins when a community of organic farmers has a surplus to sell and form a PGS in order to actively participate in the process of certifying one another’s farms. The group is built on a foundation of trust, transparency, participation, social networking and knowledge exchange.
PGS is a second-party organic assurance mechanism that serves as an alternative and complementary quality assurance system to third-party certification. Many PGS groups exist all over the world and some have been going for over 40 years. The worldwide umbrella organisation for the organic agriculture movement, the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) supports the PGS community of practice and advocates for the recognition of PGS by governments.