An update on the Indian state of Sikkim's hugely laudable goal of all its agriculture being organic by 2015: The Telegraph (Calcutta) reports that nearly one-third of the farms in the state have been reviewed and found to be organic. Sikkim now has nearly 18,500 hectares of organic farms.
Sikkim's state agricultural minister told The Telegraph:
The organic certification is a three-year process. Three agencies accredited to the APEDA issued C-1 certificates to 12,456 registered farmers who own 18,453 hectares in four districts of the state. The land gets the C-1 tag in the first year, followed by a C-2 in the second, and C-3 in the following years. The C-3 tag denotes than any crop produced on a particular plot is organic.
Beyond environmental concerns, the motivation of the all-organic move stems from the fact that certified organic produce is fetching a 30% premium compared to non-organic produce and eco-tourism homestays.
Under the program, farms are certified annually, with inspections twice yearly to assure that organic practices are continued beyond the initial inspection period.