Inaugural Participatory Guarantee System Training of Trainers held by KOAN.

Unlike the “Third Party Certification” approach, which relies on external inspection bodies, the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) represents an alternative assurance system. PGS involves internal procedures that are less rigorous and less costly, making it particularly suitable for local farming setups comprising groups of farmers, buyers or consumers, and stakeholders. PGS enables consumers, farmers, and all participants in the value chain to establish an “organic guarantee” system built upon principles of transparency and trust. This system empowers smallholder farmers working in groups to cultivate and market organic agricultural produce, while consumers gain access to safe products and become actively engaged in the agricultural process.

In Kenya, the adoption of the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) has witnessed ongoing growth, with 25 groups currently registered and approved by KOAN. As the custodian of the East African Organic Products Standards, KOAN establishes the regulations governing PGS in Kenya. Furthermore, there has been a notable increase in the demand for organic products. As consumer interest in organic food production continues to surge, it becomes imperative to expand the supply of organic products. Numerous farmer groups across the country have received training in organic farming and collaborate with NGOs and CBOs. However, these groups encounter challenges in accessing organic markets due to the absence of a formal guarantee system.

On 8th June 2023, KOAN conducted its inaugural virtual training on Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) Training of Trainers (ToT). The primary objective of the training was to enhance and strengthen the skills necessary for effectively implementing and auditing PGS groups, thereby facilitating the growth of PGS in Kenya. The training aimed to establish a group of accredited PGS Trainers of Trainers (TOTs) and Assessors who would play a pivotal role in expanding the number of PGS groups across the country. By doing so, the training sought to augment the range, assortment, and seasonal availability of organic products in the market, originating from PGS groups. This training attracted a diverse group of over 30 participants who already possess experience in working with farmers’ groups and providing training on organic farming practices. The participants were carefully chosen from various regions across Kenya, where organic farming is practiced, and were selected from both KOAN members and partner organizations, including PELUM Kenya and Biovision Africa Trust.

During this initial stage of the training, participants were required to complete a pre-training form aimed at assessing their existing knowledge, skills, and pertinent working information. Subsequently, the participants attended the inaugural training webinar, which focused on the formulation of a PGS development plan. This training provided participants with the necessary tools to gather information and develop an initial draft of the development plan. Stay connected with us via social media channels for updates regarding the upcoming steps, during which the participants will present and further refine the draft development plan in a face-to-face training. This comprehensive training program will involve three days of classroom sessions and a one-day experiential learning opportunity in the field.

If you require further information about the training or wish to register your group for PGS, please get in touch with Samuel Ndungu via email