You are on page 1of 8



Vol: 4 - Issue: 1

May 2012

for Private Circulation only

Split pulse mill

MAHAGREEN Women-led Producer Company

n the 11th of March 2012, Alexander Mahagreen Producer Company (Mahagreen) completed one year of legal existence as a producer company. The past year has been a learning experience. The company is owned by the farmers and the products offered by Mahagreen are what the farmer shareholders or members produce. Produce of many small and marginal farmers, even value added food products using simple technologies, are many times combined, packaged and sold under the label of Mahagreen. Currently, Mahagreen has about 1000 members representing farmers clubs in 50 villages. These farmers are actively engaged in the production of organic foods, organic farm inputs and value added food produce mostly from small and marginal farms. Their products, particularly organic farm inputs are sold to rural markets within their own and surrounding villages. The rural demands are mostly for farm inputs like vermicompost, Cow Pat Pit (CPP) and biodynamic composts. The food grains

and some basic value added food produce has found markets in Aurangabad, Mumbai, Pune, Secunderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore and Nilgiris. The company is led by its Managing Director, Ms. Chandrakalabai Bobade, seemingly a typical woman of a rural village in Aurangabad district of Marathwada region. However, she and the other seven directors, are not typical when they get down to business. During the last year, Mahagreen recruited a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to take care of the business and compliance matters. During the year 2012-13, the plans are to expand the range of marketed organic produce to include organic milk and other organic dairy products. Mahagreen believes in the principles of E.F. Schumacher, small is beautifulsmall farms and small appropriate technologies to empower farmers more.
- Joy Daniel

Promoting PGS in Indonesia

n Friday, the 9th of March, 2012, a meeting was organized with Dr. Ir. Zaenal Bachruddin, Director General of the Directorate of Processing & Marketing of Agricultural Products, Ministry of Agriculture and Organic Alliance Indonesia (AOI). The Ministry is to shortly come out with Organic regulation which would define the certification system applicable for Indonesia. In the 1st draft of the Organic decree, published in Oct 2009, it allowed the development of an alternative certification system which would be Contd. on pg 5

Meeting at the Agriculture Ministry 1

PGS Organic Council reviews Local Sangam

meetings of the Council are a good opportunity to understand local contexts and the progress made by various Facilitation Councils and Local Groups.
-Mathew John

The Council, during its 2nd annual general body meeting held at Pastapur, Hyderabad on the 3rd & 4th April 2012, took a day to visit some sangamsV functioning under the facilitation of Decan Development Society. It held discussions with the womens groups to understand the benefits that they feel have accrued to them through their participation in PGS. A heartening feature

was the confidence they felt in dealing with the external world. They also mentioned that local farmers, now, visited their villages to buy seeds, produce and compost. An important feature of the visit was the detailed scrutiny of the documentation. It was great to see the records being maintained meticulously. The bi-annual


Integrating Organic Seed Production & PGS

Community Seed Bank

A community seed bank is not just a store where a seed is kept for distribution and marketing or a sophisticated storage facility which has temperature and humidity control. It is a system in the process of community culture which includes village facilities, a garden or field where traditional varieties are safe guarded. Through this system, farmers have played a key role in the creation, maintenance and promotion of crop diversity with the help of the traditional skills which they have developed over centuries. Thus, it is a major strategy for maintaining the genetic diversity in the crop. CSB can strengthen PGS by Providing seeds of different crops and varieties to maintain diversity Providing technical information and guidelines on crop characteristics and organic farming Initiating & installing processing units for PGS farmers Accessing local markets Ensuring formalities of PGS are complied Popularizing the concept and significance of PGS Disseminating traditional knowledge

Local group discussion near Bangalore

The changing scenario in agriculture in the last decades has diverted the attention of the farmers to chemical intensive agriculture not only in the irrigated areas of commercial agriculture but also the small farmers who traditionally focus on multicropping systems to produce food for their own subsistence. Farmers who had diverse varieties of the cereals like paddy and millets suited to their needs, have over the years lost the diversity and traditional knowledge. Green Foundation provided opportunities for farmers to produce and exchange seeds for their own needs. So, a programme that started with conservation, gradually emerged as a pioneering movement. The value addition and marketing edge for the seeds was that they were produced with organic inputs and hence were suited to Challenges in reviving diversity of seeds Collection of seeds of traditional varieties Segregation of cross pollinated crops during cultivation Maintaining purity of seeds during harvesting and storage Lack of sophisticated methods for drying & testing for germination Documentation of the seed production process

the conditions of organic certification. Traditional seeds, by virtue of their unique characteristics are preferred by farmers. Each variety of different crops has its unique characteristics like drought resistance, pest and disease resistance, lodging resistance, high culinary value and medicinal properties. In order to make the farmers self reliant, through production of seeds, conservation and multiplication of these traditional varieties is very crucial in this context and thereby preservation of valuable local crop germplasm.

-Vanaja Ramprasad

Discussion on community seed bank

Organic agriculture books & CDs available at:

Office bearers of PGS Organic Council

Joy Daniel Claude Alvares Mathew John - President - Secretary - Treasurer

Other India Bookstore



PGS - Answer for Rattan Eco-Certification?

Contd. from pg 1-

Promoting PGS in Indonesia acceptable to the consumers. At that time, the Competent Authority of Organic Food (OKPO) invited AOI to give their comments on how the system could be developed. The Director General also heads OKPO.
In the 2nd draft issued in April, 2011, only third party certification is accepted. Negotiations with the Ministry of Agriculture have helped in the ministry keeping itself open to the idea of PGS being included. IFOAM provided a letter of support and an excellent meeting allowed them to understand the efforts and advantages of providing space for PGS in the Organic regulation. Mathew was also able to provide the global perspective of PGS and the efforts being made by the civil society, government and other role players. Dr. Ir. Gardjita Budi, the Director of Quality & Standardization, Ministry of Agriculture, a crucial person in the Ministry, also joined the meeting. It was also pointed out by Dr. Ir Sunarya, former head of the National Standards Authority, that self certification was allowed legally under the ISO Standards as reference for PGS development. The Indonesian government would like a single Indonesia Organic logo for both 3rd party and PGS, so as not to confuse the consumers. This is something similar to Brazil where the same principle is being applied.
- Mathew John

The workshop on Rattan EcoCertification took place in Bogor, Indonesia on the 6th& 7th of March, 2012. Stakeholders from all along the value chain were present for this workshop farmers, traders, ministries of trade and forests and many others made up the discussion group. This workshop was organized through a collaborative effort between the NonTimber Forest Products - Exchange Programme, the Indonesian Organic Alliance (AOI) and the Consortium for Community-based Forest Management Systems. The new export rule which came into force from the 1st of Jan, 2012, completely bans the export of raw and semi-finished rattan products from Indonesian shores. Rattan traders felt that with Rattan being the flagship product of the country, they needed the encouragement to grow and harvest the crop sustainably. Mathew from Keystone shared about PGS and the progress it has made over the past few years examples of India and Brazil allowed a debate to take place whether such a system

would fit in for a wild+cultivated produce. Indro Surono from AOI, presented their efforts in establishing PGS in Indonesia PAMOR Indonesia (Quality Guarantee through Participative Methods). The closing session had many of the participants agreeing that PGS seemed a logical and simple system to get communities together to revive an interest and in turn, build the market.
- Mathew John


PGS and INOFO at Organic World Congress (OWC), 2011

Mr. Mathew John, who is the Treasurer of the PGS Organic Council and member of the IFOAM PGS Committee, was elected on 04 October, 2011, as the only member from Asia to the World Board 2011-14. Eva Torremocha from Spain is the other IFOAM PGS Committee member who has been elected to the World Board. Two days earlier, I was pleasantly surprised to see the General Assembly of INOFO create additional posts of VicePresident and to find myself elected to the post of its Vice-President for Asia. The next OWC will be held at Istanbul, Turkey, in 2014.
- Miguel Braganza

Joy, Mathew & Miguel at the IFOAM GA

The Organic World Congress of IFOAM is the triennial gathering of organic promoters, traders, scientists, farmers and consumers under one roof. The Korean Organizing Committee (KOC) for the 17th Organic World Congress held in September-October, 2011 made it possible for organic farmers with best practices to come and participate in the first ever General Assembly of the Intercontinental Network of Organic Farmers Organizations (INOFO) and OWC, at Seoul. Five farmers from India benefited from this generosity.

The OWC attracted close to 2000 participants from 76 countries. The various side events, including the Organic World Fair and Festival, drew in some 250,000 visitors. There was a large delegation from India and many of us presented papers in the conference and pre-conference seminars. There were a large number of scientifically validated papers presented by delegates from other countries that were useful. The exhibition and demonstrations in the side events were also learning experiences.

International PGS Committee members at dinner

PGS products available at

Organic Link Aurangabad - Ph: 0240-2340290 Restore Chennai - Ph: 044-24430093 Bon Appetit Puducherry - Ph: 0413-2338165 Green Drops Salem - Ph: 0427-4040849 Simply Organic Bangalore - Ph: 080-23321314 Jaivik Krishi Society Bangalore - Ph: 080-65624197 Green Shops Mysore - Ph:0821-4247160 Ooty - Ph:0423-2441340 Coonoor - Ph:0423-2238412 & Kotagiri - Ph:04266-273887 Nesara Mysore - Ph: 0821-2330404 Alter Media Eco Shop Calicut - Ph: 0487-2422974 Conscious Food Mumbai - Ph: 022-24947902 Jaivik Haat New Delhi - Ph:011-45797091


History of PGS in India

Preparatory meeting in Goa, 2006

he term Participatory Guarantee System (or simply PGS) was coined after the joint IFOAM-MAELA alternative certification workshop in Torres, Brazil, in 2004. Participants representing twenty countries attended and India was represented by Dr. Alexander Daniel and Mathew John, who had initiated simple and transparent guarantee systems for local markets. Since then, PGS has spread in Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa. Brazil and India have legally accepted PGS labeling. The PGS Organic Council has eleven Facilitation Councils as its members. India has 22 recognized National Languages and PGS literature is printed in eight of the more commonly used languages. The Farmers Pledge is administered in the locally prevalent socio-religious practices. Consequently, the level of compliance with the Basic Standards of organic agriculture and PGS is high. The present PGS Organic Council has an interesting history. It all began with a workshop in Goa, on the west coast of India, in September, 2006. Many NGOs participated

in a FAO of UN and National Centre for Organic Farming (NCOF) of India facilitated workshop. This meeting was led by Ron Khosla of Certified Naturally Grown, USA and also a member of the IFOAM PGS Task Force. He helped in setting up the basic structure of documentation required through an intensive two day workshop. The NGOs agreed to set up pilot groups of farmers to test the feasibility of adopting PGS. The review of the progress in PGS was done at a seminar in Goa in April, 2007. There was tremendous debate as many NGOs who had agreed to be part of the pilots, had not moved forward and it seemed discouraging. Dr. P.V. Satheesh of DDS emphasized that PGS must be controlled by the small holding and marginal farmers and be built on their traditional knowledge and innovations. He recommended the use of audio-visual media for recording data and communicating with illiterate farmers. Dr. Ashok K. Yadav, Director, NCOF emphasized the need for an unitary system for appraisal and documentation for uniformity in PGS across the country. This was adopted and yielded positive results. The first code was allotted to DDS in 2008 and it launched its PGS labeled produce in the market to mark the Telugu New Year. Timbaktu Collective followed suit by adding the PGS label to the Timbaktu

Organic labeled products. The consumer was exposed to the PGS label for the first time in India. The Council met in Bidkin, Aurangabad, in September, 2008. A format was developed for reporting by Facilitation Councils and this was adopted. It was decided to launch a newsletter to promote PGS in India. A brochure was released at Trichy in October, 2008. In November, PGSOIC participated in ICCOAs India Organic Trade Fair at New Delhi. Discussions were held with the Joint Secretary-INM and Dr. A.K. Yadav of NCOF to obtain the federal Governments approval for PGS in India. In 2009, the Council approved the Rules & Regulations and it was decided to register under the Societies Act. It was finally registered as PGS Organic Council in Goa on 13 April, 2011. The first meeting was held in MapusaGoa on 30 April, 2011 and a new Managing Committee was elected for a two year term. The documents of PGS have been uploaded on the website The logo has since been revised. The newsletter started in June, 2009, continues with two issues annually.
- Miguel Braganza

People Reassert Faith in DDS Bio Festival

The caravan wound its way through 55 villages. In each of these places, the caravan of bullock carts was greeted with dance troupes performing traditional folk dances and by meetings with farmers wherein the importance of biodiversity, and farming that respects and adheres to the principles of biodiversity were underlined, especially to a new generation of farmers. The month-long journey culminated in the a rousing finale that was organized on the campus of the DDS-Green School at Machanur in Jarasangham Mandal.
Biodiversity Caravan

t has been more than a decade since we started celebrating the return of the Sun on Sankranti Day, with festivities marking the return of cherished local seeds into active farming systems through a colourful Biodiversity Festival. This is the thirteenth year of the Festival time for the farmers of the Deccan dryland region to celebrate their food systems, seed sovereignty ecologically sustainable agriculture, community-seed sovereignty and the ideas of local production, local consumption and local markets and rich bio-diversity on their farms; time to celebrate their identity as farmers. The Festival was flagged off with a colorful Inaugural Function organized in Rejinthal, that saw the participation of a number of farmers from the surrounding villages and a number of members from various countries that included Canada, Benin, Burkina Faso, Myanmar, the Indonesia and the Philippines.

Four farmers from the surrounding villages were honored for their unflinching adherence to the traditional biodiversitybased agricultural systems.

The closing ceremony, as well as the 13th Mobile Biodiversity Festival, was brought to a close with a delectable millet lunch that was partaken by all present for the event.
- Y.S. Laxmi

Oath taking ceremony


PGS Organic Council

(As on 31 March 2012) States
1 OFAI a. Uttar Pradesh (KVK) b. Kerala (INFACT) c. West Bengal (DISHA) d. Karnataka (Vinod) Keystone Foundation(KF) a. Tamil Nadu Covenant Centre for Development (CCD) a. Orrisa b. Tamil Nadu c. Andaman & Nicobar d. Maharastra GREEN Foundation a. Tamil Nadu b. Karnataka
Code No. of Local No. of Groups Members

A 01 UP A 01 KL A 01 WB A 01 KA A 01 A 10 TN A 10 A 20 OR A 20 TN A 20 AN A 20 MH A 20 A 30 TN A 30 KA A 30 A40 GA A40 MH A40 B 01 MH B 01 WB B 01 TN B 01 KA B 01

3 1 7 1

25 10 48 5



3 7 6 6

30 107 35 58

1 94

5 593

5. Botanical Society of Goa (BSG) a. Goa b. Sindhdurg 6 Institute for Integrated Rural Devp (IIRD) a. Maharashtra (IIRD) b. West Bengal (SEVA) c. Tamil Nadu (PAF) d. Karnataka Maharashtra Org Farmers Fed (MOFF) Maharashtra Timbaktu Collective Andhra Pradesh Deccan Development Society (DDS) Andhra Pradesh

1 1

5 7

78 53 16 5

1449 318 316 57

MH D 01 C 10 AP C 10 C 20 AP C 20 C 30 MH C 30 A 40 UA C40 TOTAL







10 Chetana Vikas Maharashtra 11 Grassroots [PHGDF] Uttarakhand



40 502

391 5270

Printed for PGS Organic Council Editor: Mathew John c/o Keystone Foundation, P.B. 35, Groves Hill Road, Kotagiri-643217 e: Ph: 04266-272277