Is a necessary tool to allow smallholders access to organic markets.
Requests a high level of commitment and knowledge by the organisation or certificate holder.
Is possible for crop production, animal husbandry, or beekeeping.
The group certification system is based on an internal quality system and shall apply to groups, cooperatives, contract producers and small scale processing.
Producers must have a similar production system and should be in geographical proximity (min No. 25 and max no. 500).
Farms with land holding of 4 ha and above can be part of the group but will be inspected annually.
A group must have a legal status and a well structured and documented Internal control system.
Groups shall be inspected twice annually by trained inspection staff who shall not have any conflict of interest that hinders work.
There shall be documented records signed by producers and inspectors.
The IQS pertaining to a group should have SOPs, Internal standards in local language, sufficient staff to operate the ICS an internal approval body which evaluates, supervises, approved and imposes sanctions if necessary.
ICS personnel shall be adequately trained and records pertaining to training shall be made available.
Farmers shall be regularly trained by ICS personnel, there shall be one initial advisory visit and training details shall be documented.
The sampling plan for inspection is based on the inspector’s perception of risk based on the following factors:
Size of holding, Number of the members in the group, Degree of similarity between the production system and crop system, inter mingling/contamination, local hazards. Risk factor calculation are as per respective standandards.
The group must present a detailed Organic Management Plan.
Farmers must keep a minimum of records.
Records on purchased, stored, processed, and sold quantities must be kept at each step, from the producer to export or final sale.
The group can only be certified in case the ICS works properly.
In case certification relates to crop production in a group, all rules applicable to crop production shall apply.
New producers can be included in the organic farmers list only after approval by the certifier.