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.
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:
- Training Curriculum on the Evaluation of ICS for Inspectors and Certification Personnel
- 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
Training Curriculum for Producer Organizations
The Guidance on the EU Regulation 848 for grower groups and certification bodies
IFOAM - Organics International together with FIBL, and leading experts in the field have developed guidance to analyse and explain the implications and major changes of the new EU Organic Regulation 848 for producer groups and certification bodies worldwide.
These guidance were prepared with the financial support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs – SECO within the OT4D Project