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At I Say Organic, we acknowledge that certification is important to build consumer confidence and the only way to establish trust amongst varied communities of consumers. Certification also helps organic farmers gain a fair price for their produce and facilitates the sale of organic products. However, certification can be tedious and expensive, which can be a deterrent for small farmers.
While we endorse certified producer groups and their products, we also get references for non-certified farmers through our network of experts and activists, who can vouch for their authenticity. 95% of our produce is certified and for non-certified produce (on a case by case basis) we follow a strict procedure of monitoring.
I Say Organic believes in establishing personal relationships with farmers and understanding their methods of organic farming and only after we are convinced about their methods we sell it as I Say Organic organic produce.
I Say Organic ‘seal of trust’ is an additional bond of trust, confirming the produce sourced from the I Say Organic network of farmers is guaranteed 100% safe and organic.
FAQs about Certification
A: The product subscribes to a set of standards developed by different governments, to define methods of organic farming, food processing and handling. Specifically they include banned substances, standards for soil quality ensuring that the supply chain is free of chemicals and toxic substances. Certification also involves monitoring and auditing processes. Third party agencies collect samples, carry out testing and refer to rigorous documentation by the farmers before certifying organic, which guarantees that farmers are complying to the set standards. Individual certification bodies have their own service marks, which can be found on the products.
A: In March 2000, the Government of India implemented the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) that involves the accreditation programme for certification bodies, norms for organic production, promotion of organic farming etc. The NPOP standards for production and accreditation system have been recognized by European Commission and Switzerland as equivalent to their country standards.
The USDA has also recognized NPOP conformity assessment procedures of accreditation as equivalent to that of US. With these recognitions, Indian organic products duly certified by the accredited certification bodies of India are accepted by importing countries. Since 2009, the Indian NPOP standards were also recognized for domestic markets, after being notified under the Agmark Act, by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation, Government of India.
A: Differentiated by who is authorized to certify, certification can be broadly divided into three categories.
Third party certification - In India, currently there are 20 accredited third party certification agencies authorized to certify produce as organic. Out of these four agencies are under public sector and 16 under private management. The National Accreditation Body (NAB) appointed by the Agricultural and Processed Foods Export Development Authority (APEDA) under Ministry of Commerce (the regulatory body of the NPOP), is responsible for accreditation of Certification and Inspection Agencies. You can download a list of certification agencies as published on the NAB website here. http://ncof.dacnet.nic.in/Organic_Certification_System/List_of_certification_Bodies.pdf
PGS certification – The PGS is an internationally applicable organic quality assurance system implemented and controlled by the committed organic farmer-producers through active participation, along with the consumers, in the process based on verifiable trust. It is not an “inspection raj” certification system but, rather, one that is based on personal integrity and peer pressure. The PGS approach to certification is non-hierarchical and uses less paperwork than a Third Party System so sometimes that confuses people, but that doesn’t mean it is less of a certification system.
As I Say Organic’s network of farmers expands, we are setting up an internal audit with our own standards and guidelines. The details will soon be available on the website.
If you would like to know more about certification or monitoring please feel free to send us your questions at email@example.com.
We also encourage people interested in organic farming and methods to visit our farms and meet the farmers. If you would like to arrange a visit, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your details.
I Say Organic certificates
Currently, I Say Organic sources regularly from three farmer groups and two independent farmers. Our partners are certified by accredited agencies and their certifications are mentioned below. All I Say Organic produce can be identified under the I Say Organic Seal of Trust sourced under the I Say Organic network of farmers. Off an on, there are also other groups we source certain specialty items from. Certificates for those can be made available on request, or if the produce is non-certified it will be explicitly stated (but farmer info can be shared on request).
If you would like to know more about organic certification, or wish to see certificates of our farmers, please write to us at email@example.com.