Special features of farming under the Demeter standards

Biodynamic agriculture defines the 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 Biodynamic preparations (from various herbs and minerals) is mandatory.
  • The guidance of the Biodynamic Calendar which indicates cosmic rhythms beyond the seasons of the sun, in particular, the cycles of the moon including its zodiac constellations is helpful in deciding days for input application and all farming activities.
  • 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 Biodynamic farming is food crop production of the highest quality.

Demeter Certification Office

In India, the Demeter Certification Office (DCO) of the Biodynamic Association of India is the authority of the certification. The basis of this certification is the 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.

The list of Approved Inspection Agencies is given below:

  • Aditi Organic Certifications
  • CUC
  • Ecocert
  • IMO Control India
  • Lacon Quality Certifications Pvt. Ltd.

Requirements for applying for 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 in all areas of the enterprise.
  • All organic manures (stable manure, compost etc.) are to be treated with compost preparations. 
  • Seed and planting material must be sourced in Demeter quality if available and if not, then of organic quality. Conventional quality may be used only with the prior written permission of the DCO. Treated seeds are strictly forbidden.
  • Compliance with the input lists named in the annexes of the Demeter Standards.
  • GMO-free declaration for all inputs
  • Clear separation of product flow in all steps of production, transport, processing, storage and export.


It usually takes three years of conversion time to achieve Demeter certification. The conversion time can be shortened in some cases provided requirements are met. Kindly read the conversion section of the Demeter Standards for more details. The conversion brochure may also give you a fair idea of this process.

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 Questionnaire, a conversion plan and a plot list, and returns these documents by E-Mail to the Demeter Certification Office (DCO)
  • 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 and the production and use of Biodynamic preparations.

3. BDAI Membership

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

4. Manager Training

The manager of the enterprise attends an approved introductory course in Biodynamic agriculture conducted by the BDAI or approved centres.

5. Certification / License Contract

The manager of the enterprise attends an approved introductory course in Biodynamic agriculture conducted by the BDAI or approved centres.

6. 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.
  • 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.
  • The inspection agency sends the inspection report to the DCO for assessment and a decision on Demeter certification.

7. Certification Decision

  • If the management of the enterprise meets the Demeter standards, but with some non-compliances, a conditions letter is issued with details of expected corrective actions and evidence.
  • The management fulfils the corrective action and sends the report with evidence to the DCO. If the corrections are satisfactory, the Demeter certificate is issued.
  • 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. In this case, the DCO will decide whether the management can reapply or not.
  • The applicant then has an opportunity to appeal against this decision as mentioned in the contract

8. Processing and Licensing Fees

  • The enterprise will be charged by the DCO of the BDAI a fee according to a fixed scale of fees for the use of the Demeter trademark and certification costs