Peer group inspection, the key activity in the PGS certification, is carried out in all the villages every year. Proper documentation procedures, in line with PGS Organic India Council guidelines are undertaken by all participating farming families and sanghas. All the documents utilised in the process are in Telugu, the local language, which enables the farmer members to participate.

A PGS Inspection in progress

A PGS Inspection in progress

Training programmes are regularly organized for the farmers on certification and methodology under the system. All the farmer members pledge to grow crops using organic methods and follow all the systems required for PGS certification.

All member farmers are given a copy of Indian Organic Standards in Telugu. Posters about the standards are displayed in sangha offices, so that everyone reads and adheres to them. With the help of sangha volunteers, all the farmers maintain diaries and the necessary documents. The sangha meets twice a month on specific dates to discuss various issues. PGS is put as an agenda point in all the discussions.

A sangha is divided into 5 sub groups called brindams (small groups). The farmers having adjacent fields in one area form one brindam. The monitoring becomes easy, as all members in brindam know what is happening in his/her neighbour’s field.

Inspection visits are made to all the farmer fields by all the group members. If any farmer uses chemicals it is brought to the notice of and discussed in the large group meeting by the respective brindam members. The sangha discusses and finds out the reality and rejects the certificate to the farmer, if s/he is found to be using chemicals. Depending on the situation and sincerity of the farmer, s/he may be given a chance to continue in the group on his/her promise for not using chemicals again.

The Inspection sheets are filled up by brindam members and given to the sangha with the recommendations for approving or denying certification. Usually these sheets of all farmers are put in sangha meeting and discussed case by case. The approved list of farmers for PGS certification is then prepared and sent to Timbaktu Collective, the regional council.

The consolidated data is sent to PGS Organic India Council every year. The certificates for the approved sanghas are received from the PGSOIC and the certificates are displayed in the sangha offices.

In first three years, the produce of the farmer is treated as ‘organic-in-conversion’ and from fourth year it is certified organic.