SAOSO has been planting its own seeds towards the development of the organic sector and we are very pleased to announce that the SAOSO Standard for Organic Production and Processing, which was included in the IFOAM Family of Standards in December 2017, can now be used by producers. SAOSO has signed an agreement with Control Union who have begun to certify to the SAOSO Standard. You can contact Hennie Louw, Organic Department Manager/ Auditor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAOSO and PGS SA have also developed the certification roadmap for smallholder farmers using Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) which ensures that their products are PGS Natural Assured, or PGS Assured Organic. This will give credibility to organic claims and provide consumers with the assurance that they are looking for when making purchases. It is known that organic produce has a higher nutritional value than conventional produce, which is also tainted with pesticides and herbicides. We will be unveiling the PGS SA and SAOSO logos and seals in our next communication.
To support the uptake of PGS throughout South Africa, SAOSO, working with its sister organisation PGS SA, will soon be providing training for PGS practitioners. This has been made possible through the Regional Knowledge Hub for Organic Agriculture, Southern Africa which is a collaborative country-led partnership funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), managed by the Sustainability Institute. SAOSO has been identified as the South African node of the Knowledge Hub.
These activities will go some way to grow the spread of organic practices, but there is still much work that needs funding and we need your help. Please consider joining SAOSO as a member to support the work that we do. If you would like to get more involved please contact us for information on projects that need support. As a country, we urgently need to move toward sustainable agricultural practices that consider the health of the soil for future generations.