Special features of farming under the Demeter standards

Biodynamic agriculture defines quality of food as dependent on life forces sustaining our bodies in harmonious health. Hence, Demeter certification requires certification as per national organic standards as a pre-requisite, but Demeter standards go beyond organic standards in the following way:
The use of the Biodynamic preparations (from various herbs and minerals) is mandatory.
The timing of input applications should observe cosmic rhythms beyond the seasons of the sun, in particular the cycles of the moon including its zodiac constellations.
The Biodynamic farm is to be developed as an individual self-contained entity; biodiversity of flora is essential.
The Biodynamic farm is expected to integrate animals, in particular cows, as their manure is regarded as particularly beneficial to soil, crops and the farm organism.
The purpose of Bioydnamic farming is food crop production of the highest quality.

 

 

Procedures: the major steps of conversion towards Demeter

Who grants Demeter certification?

In India, the Demeter Certification Office (DCO) of the Biodynamic Association of India is the authority of the certification process carried out by the International certification Office of Demeter International e.V. The basis of this certification is the International Demeter Standard.

The DCO of BDAI works together with approved inspection bodies, which have trained Demeter inspectors to carry out Demeter inspections in India. The Demeter inspections are carried out annually in addition to the organic inspection.

List of Approved Inspection Agencies is given below:

Requirements for achieving a Demeter certification

Before you apply to have your enterprise inspected for Demeter certification, please study the Demeter Standards diligently and check to see if the most important prerequisites listed below are already being met, or could be fulfilled in the immediate future:

  • Conversion of the entire farm (incl. all crops, animal husbandry and fodder, areas producing products for home consumption) to Demeter standards.
  • Ruminants are present in arable enterprises – the requirement is between 0.2 and 2.0 livestock units/hectare.
  • At least one application per year of cow horn manure and horn silica, as well as the spreading of prepared manures on all areas of the enterprise.
  • All organic manures (stable manure, compost etc.) are to be treated with the compost preparations. 
  • Seed and planting material must be sourced as Demeter product if available and if not, then of organic quality. Conventional quality may be used only with prior written permission of Demeter-International. Pesticide-treated seeds are strictly forbidden.
  • Compliance with the input lists named in the annexes of the Demeter Standards.
  • GMO-free declaration for all inputs at risk from genetic modification.
  • Clear separation of product flow in all steps of production, transport, processing, storage and export.

How long will it take for farm conversion?

It usually takes three years conversion time (click here to see chart) to achieve Demeter certification. The conversion time can be shortened if it can be proven that previous farming methods were organic or extensive. A valid certificate from an accredited organic inspection body is a precondition.

Procedures: the major steps of conversion towards Demeter

1.

Farm Questionnaire & Documentation

The enterprise, converting to Demeter, contacts the Demeter Certification Office in India. 

  • The farmer completes a Farm Questionnaire, a conversion plan and a plot list, and returns these documents by E-Mail to the Demeter Certification Office (DCO) of the Biodynamic Association of India (BDAI).
  • The conversion plan covers planned crops and crop rotation, the fertiliser programme, development of animal husbandry and feeding, appropriate measures to counteract cross-boundary environmental contamination threats as well the production and use of the Biodynamic preparations.
  • As long as needed for the conversion period and beyond, the farmer resp. the manager of the enterprise engages an accredited Biodynamic Advisor.

2.

Conversion Contract

The DCO checks the supplied information so as to assess whether the farm is sufficiently prepared to go into conversion.

  • A conversion contract is signed between the enterprise and Demeter-International resp. the BDAI in which the manager is obliged to farm the enterprise to the Demeter standards from this point in time on.
  • Also from this time at the latest, all use of the Biodynamic preparations needs to be documented.

The manager of the enterprise, along with an accredited Biodynamic Advisor, produces a management plan in which an overview of the whole conversion process is detailed.

  • This plan covers planned crop rotations, the fertiliser programme, development of animal husbandry and feeding, locally appropriate measures to counteract cross-boundary environmental contamination threats as well the production and use of the Biodynamic preparations.

If you wish to host an on-farm biodynamic advisor to work with the farm staff, contact the BDAI for placement of a Biodynamic Ambassador.

3.

BDAI Membership

  • The enterprise applies for membership at the Biodynamic Association of India (BDAI).

4.

Manager Training

  • The manager of the enterprise attends an approved introductory course in Biodynamic agriculture at one of the biodynamic training centres in India

5.

Inspection

The Demeter inspection takes place annually, carried out by an independent, qualified Demeter inspector from an accredited inspection agency. As well as checking that the enterprise conforms to the regulation for organic agriculture with amendments, the additional requirements to meet the Demeter standards are inspected. 

  • The converting enterprise contacts an inspection agency, which is authorised by Demeter India to do Demeter inspections, and enquires about the cost of inspections. The costs for the Demeter inspection will be paid by the inspected enterprise.

The converting enterprise informs Demeter Certification Office when the Demeter inspection will take place.

  • All documents relating to the bringing in of materials from outside the farm (seed, fodder, manure, plant protection agents, etc.) as well as the farm plan, the management plan and documentation detailing preparation use must be available at the inspection.

6.

Certification Decision

The inspection agency sends the inspection report to the DCO for assessment and a decision on Demeter certification. 

  • If the management of the enterprise meets the Demeter standards, a Demeter certificate is issued, which may also contain conditions and recommendations.
  • If the management does not meet the Demeter standards in important areas, the enterprise will be informed of this and the reasons why will be detailed.

7.

Certification Contract

Following certification a contract is concluded between Demeter-International resp. the BDAI and the enterprise, which details trademark usage. 

If labeling or other advertising material is generated which uses any of the Demeter trademarks, these must conform to the labeling standards. The enterprise must submit proof material for approval before printing.

8.

Processing and Licensing Fees 

The enterprise will be charged by Demeter-International resp. the DCO of the BDAI a fee according to a fixed scale of charges for the processing of the inspection report.

The enterprise pays Demeter-International resp. the BDAI a licensing fee for the use of the trademark.