Grower group certification is a service offered by ACT to support small scale producers to collectively gain certification with lower costs. Eligible applicant is producer group who have coordinated handling and marketing with at least 2 producer members in the group. The group can be organized by the producer organization (e.g. farmer cooperative), development agency (non-government organization or government agency), or marketing company who is responsible for the producer members. The applicant is the licensee and holding of ACT’s certificate, not individual producers.
The grower group may or may not have its own internal control system (ICS) but those with ICS may possibly receive reduced inspection by ACT inspector, and thus lower inspection costs. ICS is a documented quality assurance system developed by the project to ensure the compliance of the production of producer members and all relevant activities within the project to the applicable organic standards. As a consequence, ACT’s inspection of the grower group with ICS is to evaluate the proper working and effectiveness of the ICS.
Grower group must have its producer members located within a certain area/locality, practicing organic farming and cooperating to process and market their products together.