Zero Budget Natural Farming

What Is Zero Budget Natural Farming

·  ZBNF  is  a  farming  system  is  popularised  by  Padma  Shree  Mr.  Subash  Palekar  from

Maharashtra in mid-1990’s as an alternative to the green revolution

· There is no standardised definition for zero budget natural farming but, one can define it as a farming system which can neutralise/ sustain the Agro – ecology and help doubling the  farmer’s  income  by  different  means  such   as  cutting  the  input  cost;  profiting supplementary crops.

·  The term “zero budget” specifies that there would be zero cost of production.

·  The term  “natural farming” specifies that the farming process  is done in a natural way.

where we would not use any kind of chemicals and intensive practices on the field.

· This process not only helps in increasing soil health and ecological balance but, also helps the farmers escape from the vicious cycle of indebtedness and can decrease the cases of farmer suicides

Process of ZBNF

ZBNF has 4 basic principles they are Jeevamrutha, Bijamrita, Acchadana, Whapasa

1. Jeevamrutha

· It is used as a nutrient supply for soil and plants and is also used for preventing fungal and bacterial diseases

· It is made up of 200 litres of water, 10 kg local  cow dung, 5  – 10  litres  local cow urine, 2 kg jaggery, 2 kg pulse flour, 2 kg of local soil. All these are mixed and are stored for 48 hours in shade. 200 litres of Jeevamrutha is sufficient for one acre land.

· It helps in boosting plant growth and results in high yield. It builds the plant immune system to be resistant to diseases. It also helps in increase of useful microorganism in soil. Ex- Rhizobium

2. Bijamrita

· It is a treatment for seedling/ seeds/ planting material. It is helpful in preventing seed borne diseases and protecting the young roots from fungal diseases.

 · It is made of 20 litres of water, 5 kg local cow dung, 5 litres local cow urine, 50-gram lime and local soil.

· The mixture should be added to the seeds as a seed treatment. Coat them and mix the seeds by hand to even spread. For leguminous seeds just dip and let the solution dry on the seed.

3. Acchadana

· It is used to improve the soil fertility and helps in reviving the top soil. It also helps in  increase  of  water  holding  capacity  of  soil  and  can  also  indirectly  prevent  the growth of weeds.

· It is a mixture of soil, straw, dry leaves. The mixture is applied on the field at the time of land preparation and can also be useds as sowing sites.

4. Whapasa

· It is used as a subsidiary for irrigation.

· It is a condition in which soil contains both air and water molecules.

· This condition encourages the reduction of  irrigation and provides  balance between moisture and air in the soil. And helps in soil aeration.

Pest management in ZBNF

  • Agniastra
  • Brahmastra
  • Nimastra

How is it Different from Organic Farming?

Some of the major differences between organic and natural farming are

· Organic   farming   concentrates   on   not   using   chemicals   but,   natural   farming concentrates on practising farming in natural ways according to natural laws.

· For  instance,  in  organic  farming  usage  of  vermicompost,  manure  can  be  seen.  In natural farming the soil is encouraged to have decomposition by increasing its organic matter through microbes and earthworms are introduced naturally on top soil which will help in nutrient addition in soil.

· So,  natural  farming  doesn’t  consist  practices  like  ploughing,  tillage,  manuring, weeding, composting, supplemental fertiliser etc.., Similarities between Organic Farming And Natural Farming Both organic and natural farming has practices such as

·  Chemical free farming

·  Usage of local breeds of seeds, native varieties vegetables, pulses are grown.

·  Usage of homemade pest control methods.

Uses of ZBNF

· Natural farming helps in maintaining soil micro-climate as the soil is always covered with organic mulch (Acchadana) which creates perfect humus and conditions for the growth of healthy micro bacteria.

· Local cow breeds are used for dung and urine. Usage of indigenous breeds like Gir, Shaiwal etc., this helps the farmer get the pure material from the cow and also the bi products of the cow can be used in value addition for farmers income and as being a local cow maintenance cost of the cow is comparatively low than an exotic cow.

 · Usage of Jeevamrutha aids in a micro flora culture within the soil and improves soil aeration  and  fertility.  This  is  due  to  presence  of  cow  dung  and  cow  urine  in Jeevamrutha.

· Usage  of  mulch  decreases  weed  growth  on  the  farm  and  lets  the  farmer  use  the maximum area of the field for cultivation purpose.

· Multi- cropping is a practice which aids in doubling the farmers income and getting out of monoculture is getting him out of the vicious cycle of debt.

· One of the main objectives of the farming system is zero budget. This will make the farmer manage his macro- economic structure without any input as the input cost is getting to zero as the farmer starts planning his model with locally available resources and materials.

Government Initiatives for Promoting

·  The government of India promotes organic farming through the schemes of Paramparagat

Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) since 2015-16 and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).

· Under  the  PKVY  scheme,  several  organic  farming  methods  like  zero  budget  natural farming  (ZBNF),  natural  farming,  vedic  farming,  rishi  farming,  cow  farming,  homfarming, etc. are included wherein states adopt any model of organic farming including

ZBNF depending on the farmer’s choice.

· According to the RKVY scheme, organic farming or natural farming model components are considered by the respective State Level Sanctioning Committee (SLSC).

 · The  Union  Budget  2022-23  has  proposed  to  promote  chemical-free  natural  farming throughout  the  country,  beginning with  5km  wide  land  corridors  along the  Ganga.  The Budget also proposed upgrading curricula in agricultural universities to include courses on ZBNF.

States Which Implemented ZBNF

Criticism on ZBNF

· The   green   revolution   came   to   ensure   food   security  in   India   however   due   to mismanagement  and  excess  use  of  the  fertiliser  it  created  many  environmental problems. Experts of farming still doubt zero budget farming practice, as in Sikkim state,  it  has  been  noticed  that  the  yield  of  the  farmers  is  declining  due  to  organic farming

· Family labour cost, rent of land, cow maintenance, electricity cost, etc are ignored in the cost calculation

Answers for Criticism

 · When we talk about the green revolution it consists of fertilizer usage and usage of exotic varieties. At the start of the green revolution, the farmers are made to come out of their comfort zone and are made to work with unknown technologies.

· But  when  it  comes  to  natural  farming  farmers  its  more  of  a  natural  process  and  it doesn’t need any new practice and just needs basic training about practices of making the Jeevamrutha, Bijamrita, Acchadana, Whapasa

·  When it comes to yield disparity, it is scientifically proven that it takes 3-5 years’ time

according to the intensity of chemicals in the field.

· The cows used in this method are purely local cows so the maintenance is easy as the local cows are determined to resist the local crisis for example: drought, rain, heat etc. and its input can be the value addition of the cow products like milk, curd, paneer ,etc.

Conclusion

· Prime Minister said “The Centre has decided to double farmers’ income by 2022 by improving   technology,   increasing   milk   production,   use   of   solar   light,   honey production.

·  Cutting down the toxicity in food chain can be made possible by practising ZBNF

· ZBNF  in  the  drought  prone  regions  of  Andhra  Pradesh  is  helping  soils  to  produce more  yield  and  offering  small  farmers  decent  lives  Farmers’  organisations  together with   the   government   provide  the   training.   They  encourage   local   communities, particularly   women’s   self-help   groups,   to   take   up   new   farming   practices   that transform  the  land.  The  practices  make  farmers  more  resilient  and  able  to  fight climate change.

·  According to UNCCD farmers are using less water and electricity and are now saving 2000  USD  per  season.  Andhra  Pradesh  is  planning  to  convert  into  100%  natural farming and making it world’s largest Agro – ecological programme.

·  ZBNF in Andhra alone covers 6 million farmers by 2025 – 26 and will be able to feed 9.6 billion by 2050 according to a United Nation report.

· Across the world, agriculture is facing multiple setbacks, be it in the form of extreme weather  events  like  floods  and  droughts  or  factors  such  as  soil  degradation,  soil salinity and water shortage.

 · As  climate  is  changing,  creating resilient  food  systems  has  become  the  need  of  the hour. And to restore agriculture ecology ZBNF is the need of millions of farmers in areas  who  are facing drought, desertification, soil infertility, excess  fertilizer usage, trapped in debts and are being victims of suicides.