In South Africa we use the term “PGS Endorsed” to convey the message of recognition and build the trust. Once the farmer members have been through the farm visit, they can then be considered endorsed. Endorsed farmers will be provided with a certificate endorsing their natural or organic status for explicitly identified crops or animal produce.
All members (consumers and farmers) can take part in a farm visit. Visits are organised at the request of the farmer member, when he/she is ready for the farm visit. The farmer completes a production sheet (accessible in the ‘forms’ tab) which is checked by the permanent Outeniqua PGS committee before confirming the visit and then the farmers settles a farm visit fee.
On the day of the visit, a farm visit committee “drives” the farm visit (the composition of the farm visit committee can vary for each visit and must always include at least two farmers, one technical adviser and one consumer) whilst additional farmers and consumers can join the visit as observers (the visited farmer decide on the “maximum” number of observers he/she wishes to have on the farm).
The farm visit committee will be responsible for completing the assessment report. All participants on the farm visit complete a “Farm visit checklist”. All members have the right to ask questions, and can explore any query that might have arisen out of the supplied documentation prior to the assessment.
The farm visit is an interactive process, whereby the farmer walks the visitors on the farm and explains the production cycle. Many questions are asked and a lot of agricultural knowledge is shared during the visit. Farm visits last 3 hours on average.
After the walk through, all comments, suggestions or further queries will be handled in a short meeting before concluding the assessment. The committee is then left to debate the outcome of the visit. All participants will be expected to give their comments openly at this meeting
Ideally, the assessment process can be finalised up to provisional acceptance stage at that meeting. If any further research or verification is required, the farm committee postpones the ruling and has 2 working days to come to a final conclusion.
Types of certificates
Organic Assurance: (Pending application for approval to use the SAOSO Organic PGS Endorsed logo and the signed licensing agreement between our PGS group and SAOSO) A farmer/producer must demonstrate compliance with the SAOSO Standard for Organic Production and Processing.
Natural Assurance: Farmers/producers in this category, who comply with the Basic Production Principles, can receive the Natural Assurance endorsement of our PGS until such time as our PGS has an established documented history (i.e 18 months track record) and is able to apply for approval to use the SAOSO “PGS Endorsed” organic logo.
In-Conversion: If the production is in accordance with organic principles, but the land and animal production has been under organic management for less than: 12 months before sowing or planting in the case of annual production; 12 months before grazing or harvest for pastures and meadows; 18 months before harvest for other perennials.
Not endorsed: Any farmer/producer not complying with the Basic Production Principles will not be approved. If there is a possibility that resolving non-compliance could change the status of the product, such information will be given to the applicant, and a re-submission may be made.
Farm visit fees
The farm visit fee is R 2,500 and includes preparation for the visit (assessing the production forms completed), organising the visiting committee, coordinating the farm visit (half day), completing the farm visit report, following up on any corrective actions, and issuing the certificate.