1. Number of inspection visits by Producer Group members

Within a year, each farm will be inspected at least two times with the possibility of other unannounced visits. All organic plots on a farm shall be visited at least two times and all conventional plots at least one time.


Processing units, traders, retailers, etc. shall also be inspected at least twice a year.


2. Timing of group inspection visits

The inspection visits shall be conducted at times when the crops to be certified are still in the field. An important consideration for timing the inspections is to choose a time during which there is an increased risk that problems to comply with the organic standards will occur. This could be, for example, to visit at a time when pest and/or disease levels are high and there could be the risk that the farmer will apply some non-approved substance to control the pest or disease. Or, at this time many non-organic neighbouring farmers could spray pesticides and contaminate the organic farm if the border crop and/or buffer zone are not sufficient.


3. Procedures for arranging the inspection visit

·          The Inter- Group Certification Manager will make the general inspection schedule for the inspection visits (send forms, etc).

·          The Producer Group Leader will ensure the farmer inspectors have forms and the inspection schedule.

·          Farmer inspectors will not inspect their own farm, even if a family member is the main person taking care of the farm.

·          The Producer Group leader will arrange directly with the farmers the time and date for the inspection.

·          For each inspection one farmer inspector will take the role of ‘head’ inspector and then lead the process (explaining to the farmer what will happen in the inspection; asking the key questions and completing the Internal Inspection Checklist). The role of ‘head’ inspector should rotate among the members of the inspection team. This is important so that they can all get experience in leading the inspection process.

·          Once the inspections are completed the Internal Inspection Checklists are given to the Producer Group Leader.

·          The Producer Group Leader is responsible for making sure all the farm inspections are completed and that the inspection documents reach the Inter-Group Certification Manager within three (03) days after the inspection visit.

·          If it is decided that the inspection will be unannounced, then the Inter-Group inspector(s) will make the visit without informing the farmer in advance.

·          When soil and water samples are taken they should be clearly marked with the farmer's ID, date taken and the location marked on the farm map to show where the sample was taken from.


4. Preparationfor the inspection visit

The farmer inspectors will ensure they get from the Producer Group Leader the following documents and forms before they go to the field:

·          A copy of the Up to Date Farm Management Plan (FMP) including maps, of the farmer to be inspected

·          A copy of Up to Date production data for the farmer to be inspected

·          Previous reports and copies of non-compliances and sanctions taken against the farmer

·          A Copy of the PGS Organic Standards

·          Group Inspection Checklist

·          In the first year the inspector will also take plastic bags for soil samples and bottles for water samples (with a label or marker pen for the bags).


5. Monitoring in the Field

The inspection of farms should include:

·          Interview with the farmer; check the accuracy of the information provided such as the details on the FMP and maps, etc.; check on previous conditions and recommendations from the Inter- Group.

·          Check farm records such as receipts for sale of organic products. (AGAINST WHAT??)

·          Visit each organic field shown in the FMP to check to see that they comply with the standards and that there are no problems with neighbours using chemicals. Include a check of on-farm buildings and all non-organic fields (if scheduled).

·          Review the information recorded at the inspection with the farmer and record additional information and comments as necessary.


6. Reporting

During the inspection visit, the ‘head’ inspector will fill out the PGS Group Inspection Checklist. This form MUST be completed during the inspection so that any missing information can be obtained immediately. After completing the Checklist, the contents should be presented to the farmer inspected and, if the farmer does not agree with certain findings, this should be added to the form.


Both the inspectors and the farmer sign the form.


The signed Internal Inspection Checklist will be returned to the head of the Inter-Group within three (03) days after the inspection visit. The Certification Manager from of the Inter-Group will collect all inspection reports, verify that all information has been filled in and facilitate the decision-making process.