With 66,000 farmers livelihoods at stake, concern is growing over the Indian states organic farming experiment, with locals reluctant to pay higher prices.
It is mid-morning, and Amrit Pradhan is repositioning the tomatoes on his market stall in Gangtok, capital of the Himalayan state of Sikkim in north-east India. People always want the biggest, reddest fruit, he says. I try to tell them, the flavour is in the smaller ones, but they dont want to know.
Pradhan is one of 66,000 farmers from Sikkim who are part of a far-reaching experiment. Since last year, the states farmers have become 100% organic their produce is free of chemical pesticides or genetic modification. It also means their fruit and vegetables are smaller, less colourful, and more expensive than the imported, non-organic produce from the city of Siliguri in the neighbouring state of West Bengal.