Mexican Organic Network Takes on Certification

In Mexico, a network of local markets called Tianguis y Mercados Organicos is working to make the organic label more accessible to small-scale farmers. Using a Participatory Certification System, Tianguis y Mercados Organicos nearly eliminates the cost of third-party certification. In the process, they are creating a community of producers and consumers working toward a more sustainable food system.

In Mexico, roughly 98 percent of organic producers farm less than 30 hectares of land, and approximately 83 percent of organic producers are indigenous. With the high cost of certification and the technical nature of the organic standards, many of these small-scale producers are unable to obtain official organic certification. Not only does this mean that certain sustainable farmers cannot access the benefits of an organic label, it also pushes organic farmers to make up their costs by exporting. Roughly 85 percent of certified organic produce from Mexico is exported, as selling within the domestic market simply could not make up the cost of certification…

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