The economic structure of southern border provinces of Thailand has remained largely unchanged for the last 20 years. Agriculture sector accounted for more than one-third of the southernmost Gross Provincial Product, and more than 40 percent of workforce are in this sector. UNDP’s recent research with food consumers and producers in Yala indicated that there has been an increase in health concerns among consumers particularly safety and quality of food they buy. Although the promotion of food traceability can help creating awareness and demands of food security, safety, and sustainability among consumers and producers, there are not many trusted platforms widely used in the southern border provinces. More importantly, UNDP found that on the supply side agricultural and food standards are difficult to obtain among local farmers and fishers due to high regulatory cost and lack of trust from consumers.
In this regard, Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) offers an alternative community-based approach to promote sustainable production and empower both consumers and producers in the localities to actively take parts in the local healthy food systems. According to IFOAM – Organics International, the PGS is “a low-cost, locally-based system of quality assurance with a strong emphasis on social control and knowledge building”. This system is based on the active participation of farmers, consumers, rural advisors, local authorities: they come together in order to make decisions, visit farms, support each other and check that farmers are producing according to an Organic Standard.
Since early 2021, UNDP in Thailand has been developing a portfolio on social innovation for strengthening local governance, community resilience and social cohesion in southern Thailand’s local food systems for responsive covid-19 service delivery under the so-called “Social Innovation Platform (SIP)”. Seeking for shared value across various stakeholders are key to the platform approach. With abovementioned situation about food certification, UNDP in collaboration with Baramizi Lab is organizing a knowledge sharing workshop on “Developing Participatory Guarantee Systems for Safety and Quality Food Production in the Southern Border Provinces”.
Share knowledge about Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) and assess the situation and an overview of PGS development among the network of farmers in the southern border provinces.
Identify gaps, opportunities, and constraints towards PGS promotion, including improving sustainable agriculture and local sustainable food systems.
Build a network of agencies and farmers working on quality assurance system at the local level with an emphasis on the participation of stakeholders and based on trusted community network