Traceability and production standards:
The Participatory Guarantee Scheme for Organic produce
Do you often feel your customers do not trust your products that you sell?
Are you yourself, often unaware where your food and products come from?
Are you unable to tell your customers what they are buying and what they are consuming?
All products can be judged as better or worse quality. Food is often spoilt, is often produced with chemicals and pesticides, and often travels across the whole world before it reaches our plates. We all pay for this, and this also contributes to climate change and increasing the cost of living. There is a solution to this, and in this unit we will be looking at ways to know where our food and products come from.
The PGS for organic produce is a collegial system where farmers, customers, interested parties like a Ward Councillor, and the farmer explains to them how she produces food. Other farmers in this group will examine this production system for adherence to organic standards (this will make sure there is no chemicals or pesticides in the food) and also help the farmer to improve her production system to achieve higher outputs and more beneficial produce.
In this way, farmers, communities, and those who have an interest in sustainable living, can participate and help to develop a farm to a place where traceable, transparent and good, clean and fair food (The Slow Food slogan) can be produced.
The PGS system can serve as a model for all kinds of entrepreneurs, so they can build synergies amongst themselves (like between hawkers and farmers) and build cohesive relationships wherein enterprises can be built.
Pleas take a look at the excellent book – a free download – on organic food systems by professor Raymond Auerbach from Mandela University.
Part of the learning material for this week is work on Rainwater harvesting which was chosen to add value to the Virtual Lab for this week.
I am also including a few videos that gives a broad overview of how globalisation has affected small farmers. I offer this view, from Vandana Shiva, as a backdrop to the “business analysis” we have done so far. We are trying to craft a new niche in the food system, that serves immediate communities, processes their waste and creates value through relationships, commerce and value creation. This is necessary as the “system” feeds off large agribusiness, high volume unsustainable production, a dearth of labour and an over reliance on chemical inputs.
Readings (Please ‘click the link’)
The PGS System:
Mashele, N & Auerbach, R. “Participatory Guarantee Systems as an Organic Market Entry Point for Small-scale Farmers in South Africa” in Auerbach, R. (ed.) Organic food systems: Meeting the Needs of Southern Africa Wallingford: CABI, pp. 130 – 138. Available at: https://foodsecurity.ac.za/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Organic-Food-Systems-Meeting-the-Needs-of-Southern-Africa.Auerbach.10.2019.pdf
Vandana Shiva on globalisation and small farms:
Shiva on Globalisation: