Internal Control Systems (ICS) for Group Certification

 

Latest update (July 2019): the Draft position paper to the EU Commission on the requirements for group certification in the new EU Organic Regulation is available here.


Group certification is an approach that facilitates access of smallholders to organic certification and hence to organic markets and their associated benefits.

IFOAM works extensively on the topic of group certification and the associated concept of Internal Control System (ICS). This page gives you an overview of the work done and the resources available on that topic.

An Internal Control System (ICS) is the part of a documented quality assurance system that allows an external certification body to delegate the periodic inspection of individual group members to an identified body or unit within the certified operator. This means that the third party certification bodies only have to inspect the well-functioning of the system, as well as to perform a few spot-check re-inspections of individual smallholders.

Group Certification is regulated by a specific set of requirements in the IFOAM Accreditation Requirements for Bodies Certifying Organic Production and Processing.

IFOAM - Organics International has published training materials on ICS for producers organizations and for inspectors and certification personnel. All materials are available on the Training Kit on ICS for Smallholder Group Certification page.

IFOAM has played a key role in the harmonization of the ICS concept in the 90s and in early 2000.

In 2003, IFOAM submitted to the EU a Position on Smallholder Group Certification for Organic Production and Processing. The position showed the consensus reached by the organic sector globally on the ICS requirements and resulted in the EU accepting group certification essentially with the requirements developed within the IFOAM process.

In 2004, IFOAM published the results of its ICS global harmonization work in the form of the IFOAM training kit on ICS for smallholder group certification. These materials are still a key resource today for anybody involved with the group certification topic. Please find all materials below. 

The 2003 position said that “there may be a number of other situations [than developing countries] where group certification concepts may be relevant and applicable, and we would like in a nearby future also to have a dialogue on these issues”. This happened starting in 2005 with the initiation of a pilot program on “ICS in the North”. A workshop was followed by a pilot project (2006-2008) involving groups and CBs 4 European countries.

In 2008, IFOAM organized a debate at the Organic World Congress (OWC), around the topic “Group Certification, who should be eligible?” This debate gathered input from the European pilot project, and from ongoing discussion in the US about group certification acceptance and scope at that time. Read more about the OWC discussion paper here and the debate background and outcome here.

In 2007 and 2008, IFOAM was involved in advocacy activities towards the NOSB who were challenging the acceptance of group certification in the US system. This resulted in the maintenance of the allowance of group certification.

Training Kit on ICS for Smallholder Group Certification

In 2004, IFOAM - Organics International published the training kit on ICS for smallholder group certification. These materials are still a key resource today for anybody involved with the group certification topic and can be downloaded from this website. 

The training kit consists of materials for two target groups: 

  1. Training Curriculum on the Evaluation of ICS for Inspectors and Certification Personnel
  2. Training Curriculum for Producer Organizations

The material for each target groups consist of the following components:

  • Training Manual - Booklet
  • Training Manual - Slides
  • Training Guide

The material is available in the following languages:

  • English, French, Spanish (Inspectors and Producers Manual )
  • Chinese (Inspectors Manual only)
  • Turkish (Producers Manual only)

Please find the training kits following the links below.


Training Curriculum on the Evaluation of ICS for Inspectors and Certification Personnel

This is the IFOAM - Organics International Training Kit on ICS for smallholder group certification for Organic Inspectors and Certification Personnel. The version for producers can be accessed below. 

Download the complete manuals: 

1. Training Manual - Booklet

2. Training Manual - Slides

  1. Introduction
  2. Overview: ICS Evaluation Procedures
  3. Inspection Schedule and Risk Assessment
  4. Inspection of the Internal Control System in the ICS Office
  5. Internal Inspection
  6. Objectives of External Farm Re-Inspections
  7. Inspection of Buying/Selling and Handling
  8. Reporting

3. Guiding Documents for Organic Inspectors and Certification Personnel

Este es el courso de formación en la certificación de grupos de pequeños agricultores para inspectores orgánicos y personal de certificación. La versión para productores se puede acceder aquí.

Descargue los manuales completos:

  1. Courso de formación - Manual
  2. Courso de formación - Diapositivas
    1. Introduccion
    2. Panorama: Procedimientos de Evaluación del SCI
    3. Programa de Inspección y Diagnóstico de Riesgo
    4. Inspección del Sistema de Control Interno en la Oficina del SCI
    5. Inspección Interna
    6. Objetivos de las Inspecciones Externas de Finca
    7. Inspección de Compra/Venta y Manejo
    8. Elaboración de Informe
  3. Documentos de guía para inspectores orgánicos y personal de certificación

Ceci est le cours de formation de IFOAM - Organics International sur SCI pour la certification collective des paysans bio destiné aux inspecteurs de produits biologiques et au personnel de certification. La version pour les producteurs est accessible ici.

Veuillez télécharger les manuels complets:

  1. Cours de Formation - Manuel
  2. Course de Formation - Transparents
    1. Introduction
    2. Vue d'ensemble de procédure d'évaluation du SCI
    3. Programme d‘inspection & evaluation des risques
    4. Inspection au bureau du SCI
    5. L’inspection interne
    6. Objectifs de la ré-inspection externes des fermes
    7. Inspection de l’achat et de la manutention
    8. Rapports
  3. Guide pour inspecteurs et certificateurs

Training Curriculum for Producer Organizations

This is the IFOAM - Organics International Training Kit on ICS for smallholder group certification for producer organizations. The version for organic inspectors and certification personnel can be accessed here.

Download the complete manuals:

  1. Training Manual - Booklet
  2. Training Manual - Slides
    1. Introduction
    2. Project Organisation
    3. Risk Management
    4. Internal Organic Standard
    5. Registration of New Farmers
    6. Internal Inspections
    7. Yield estimates
    8. Internal Approval Procedures
    9. ICS Documentation
    10. ICS Personnel
    11. Training
    12. Buying, Handling, Storage & Export
    13. External Inspection
  3. Guidance Manual for Producer Organizations

Este es el courso de formación en la certificación de grupos de pequeños para organizaciones de productores. La versión para inspectores orgánicos y personal de certificación se puede acceder aquí.

Descargue los manuales completos:

  1. Courso de formación - Manual
  2. Courso de formación - Diapositivas
    1. Introduccion
    2. Organizacion del proyecto
    3. Manejo de riesgo
    4. Norma organica interna
    5. Registro de nuevos productores
    6. Inspecciones internas
    7. Estimaciones de produccion
    8. Aprobaciones internas y sanciones
    9. Documentacion del SCI
    10. Personal del SCI
    11. Capacitacion
    12. Compra, manejo, procesamiento & exportacion
    13. Inspeccion externa
  3. Manual de guía para organizaciones de productores

Ceci est le cours de formation de IFOAM - Organics International sur ICS pour la certification collective des paysans bio destiné aux organisations de producteurs. La version pour les inspecteurs biologiques et le personnel de certification peut être consultée ici.

Veuillez télécharger les manuels complets:

  1. Cours de Formation - Manuel
  2. Cours de Formation - Transparents
    1. Introduction
    2. Organisation du projet
    3. Gestion des risques
    4. Reglement Interieur
    5. Enregistrement de nouveaux paysans
    6. Inspections Internes
    7. Estimations de rendements
    8. Approbation interne et pénalités
    9. Documentation du SCI
    10. Equipe du SCI
    11. Formation
    12. Achat, manutention, préparation, expédition
    13. Inspection externe
  3. Guide pour producteurs organisés

This is the Turkish Version IFOAM - Organics International Training Kit on ICS for smallholder group certification for producer organizations.

Download the complete manuals:

  1. Training Manual - Booklet
  2. Training Manual - Slides
    1. Introduction
    2. Project Organisation
    3. Risk Management
    4. Internal Organic Standard
    5. Registration of New Farmers
    6. Internal Inspections
    7. Yield estimates
    8. Internal Approval Procedures
    9. ICS Documentation
    10. ICS Personnel
    11. Training
    12. Buying, Handling, Storage & Export
    13. External Inspection
  3. Guidance Manual for Producer Organizations